Mississippi Delegation to President Biden: Medgar Evers deserves Presidential Medal of Freedom
Published 4:20 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023
U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson, D-Miss, Trent Kelly, R-Miss., Michael Guest, R-Miss., and Mike Ezell, R-Miss., recently sent a letter to President Joseph R. Biden urging him to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to civil rights leader Medgar Wiley Evers.
Evers was assassinated outside his home in Jackson, on June 12, 1963, as a result of his work to promote social justice, racial equality and voting rights.
“Mr. Evers dedicated his life to the defense of civil rights in Mississippi and the United States,” the legislators wrote. “His sacrifice inspires Americans to this day, and he furthered the cause of freedom for all humankind.”
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The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest U.S. civilian honor awarded to individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Awardees are selected by the President. President Harry S. Truman selected the first Medal of Freedom recipient in 1946.
Mississippi natives who have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom include civil rights activist James Earl Chaney (2014); Representative G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery (2005); Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise (1970); historian Dumas Malone (1983); musical artists Leontyne Price (1964) and B.B. King (2006); writers Eudora Welty (1980) and Tennessee Williams (1980); and media mogul Oprah Winfrey (2013).
See the full letter text here or below:
Dear President Biden,
We are honored to encourage you to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to heroic civil rights leader Medgar Wiley Evers.
Medgar Evers first served our nation as a member of the U.S. Army during World War II. Afterward, he took up leadership roles in civil rights groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Mr. Evers became the first Field Secretary for the NAACP’s work in Mississippi. He recruited volunteers, led demonstrations, and organized voter-registration drives. In everything, he fought to end racial discrimination and promote equal rights. Mr. Evers paid the ultimate price for his heroic efforts. He was tragically assassinated in the driveway of his Jackson, Mississippi, home on June 12, 1963.
Mr. Evers dedicated his life to the defense of civil rights in Mississippi and the United States. In recognition of his role in the Civil Rights Movement, he was posthumously awarded the NAACP Spingarn Medal for outstanding achievement, and he is featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. His sacrifice inspires Americans to this day, and he furthered the cause of freedom for all humankind.
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