OUR OPINION: Myrlie Evers-Williams a deserving recipient of city honor

Published 4:00 am Friday, June 9, 2023

The news that Mayor George Flaggs Jr. and the city of Vicksburg plan to honor one of its own, Myrlie Evers-Williams, brings a sense of pride to many in our community.

A Vicksburg native, Evers-Williams was born here in 1933 and raised by her grandmother and aunt, who instilled in her the value of education. She later married civil rights hero Medgar Evers in Vicksburg at Mt. Heroden Baptist Church in 1951.

Evers-Williams, as we all know today, went on to become a civil rights hero in her own right. Monday marks the 60th anniversary of her husband’s assassination outside their home in Jackson.

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In those 60 years, Evers-Williams never let the world forget that her husband didn’t die in vain. She picked up his mantle and continued the fight for equal rights for all people regardless of their race.

It was an honor and a privilege for her to attend the city’s reception this past weekend. At 90 years old, she still exudes the same power and grace as she did as a young freedom fighter.

She is a woman who has met presidents. She has addressed her nation on more than one occasion. At a time when any woman, much less a Black woman, was daresome to be bold and use her voice, Evers-Williams did so with gusto and bravery.

And she got her start right here in Vicksburg, from humble beginnings not unlike many Vicksburgers today.

Myrlie Evers-Williams deserves every accolade, every statue, every plaque for all she’s done to make Mississippi, and the world, a better place.

She could have taken her husband’s brutal killing as a sign to sit back and stay quiet. But she didn’t do that, even when threats were ongoing for herself, her children and her colleagues.

What she did instead is best summed up by the heroine herself: “I have reached a point in my life where I understand the pain and the challenges, and my attitude is one of standing up with open arms to meet them all.”

She is one of many heroes of the civil rights movement to hail from Vicksburg — and she is someone we are proud for the city to honor.