January 26, 2021

Newest National Monument established in Jackson, honoring slain civil rights leader

Thursday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced the establishment of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument in Jackson as the 423rd unit of the National Park System. The monument was authorized by the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (P.L. 116-9), which was signed by President Trump on March 12, 2019.

Acquired by the National Park Service by way of conveyance from Tougaloo College on June 18, the new monument commemorates the legacies of two civil rights activists who, from their modest, 3-bedroom ranch home, devoted their lives to ending racial injustice and improving the quality of life for African Americans.

“It is an honor to establish the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument,” Secretary Bernhardt said. “Medgar Evers was a true American hero who fought the Nazis at Normandy and fought racism with his wife Myrlie on the home front. It is our solemn responsibility as caretakers of America’s national treasures to tell the whole story of America’s heritage for the benefit of present and future generations. The life works of these great Americans helped shape our nation in making the United States a more perfect union, and for that, we should all be grateful.”

The couple’s remaining surviving children celebrated Thursday’s announcement.

“We are so pleased that the National Park Service has made our family home in Jackson, a National Monument. Our parents sought justice and equality for all Mississippians and knew such change locally would impact globally. Living a life of service, our parents didn’t make sacrifices for accolades or awards. Our father fought for his country during World War II, and our mother equally served on the battlefields here in America. The battle continues to ensure that all Americans deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” said Reena and James Van Evers said. “We are delighted that our house, always enclosed in love and respect, is nestled in a community that provides hope and opportunity. It’s still serving as a reminder of our divided past and an educational tool to bring knowledge, excellence, and positive participation to all who visit to study icons in American history: our parents, Medgar and Myrlie Evers,”

The designation also drew praise from members of the state’s Congressional delegation.

“I, like many others, was inspired by the magnitude of determination Mr. Evers showed by dedicating himself to others and fighting against adversity,” said U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson. “The designation of his home is an everlasting tribute to his legacy. The importance of protecting the heritage and important artifacts for the enjoyment of all, and historical understanding, cannot be overstated. As many members of communities, their existence contributes to local economies directly and indirectly. I am honored that the legacy of an icon in American history, Medgar Wiley Evers will forever be preserved. Mr. Evers was an inspiration to all Americans by dedicating his life to others and fighting against racism and discrimination.”

“The Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home serves as a permanent reminder of the legacy of the Evers family, whose contributions advanced the cause of justice in our nation,” U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker said. “I was proud to champion legislation with Rep. Bennie Thompson and U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith to designate this historic site as a national monument and preserve it for future generations. I appreciate President Trump, the National Park Service, and the Department of the Interior for their work to make this designation a reality.”

“The national monument designation represents a great honor for the Evers family and their sacrifices and accomplishments for the cause of civil rights. This new national site will also stand in recognition of the overall pursuit of equality and justice in Mississippi and our nation,” said U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. “I am proud to have worked with Senator Wicker and Congressman Thompson to secure this designation.”