Myrlie Evers-Williams will speak at the university on March 2 at 4 p.m. in Fulton Chapel. The event is sponsored by the Subcommittee on the Civil Rights Movement, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture.
OXFORD, Miss. – Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, returns to the University of Mississippi this weekend (March 2-4) to highlight the Ole Miss Alumni Association’s Black Alumni and Family Reunion.
Evers-Williams will give a lecture at 4 p.m. Friday in Fulton Chapel as part of the university’s “Day of Dialogue,” which commemorates 50 years of integration at Ole Miss.
Charles K. Ross, chair of UM’s civil rights movement subcommittee, said he is extremely pleased to have Evers-Williams back on campus.
“The state of Mississippi owes her a tremendous debt in terms of the sacrifice she and her husband made, forever changing the state,” said Ross, director of the African American studies program and associate professor of African American studies and history. “I encourage everyone to come out and hear this great leader.”
Julian Gilner, assistant director of the Ole Miss Alumni Association and organizer of the Black Alumni and Family Reunion, agreed. “We are honored to have such a distinguished slate of speakers and activities for this Black Alumni Reunion, which falls on such a significant anniversary in Ole Miss history,” he said.
Gilner also serves on the university’s civil rights subcommittee, which has organized “Opening the Closed Society: 50 Years of Integration,” the yearlong celebration of diversity at UM. Various panels, lectures, concerts and other activities mark the celebration, which continues through October.
The reunion’s “Day of Dialogue” begins at 10:30 a.m. Friday in the Overby Center with a panel focusing on black students and alumni in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Panelists include Maurice Eftink, associate provost and professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Donald Cole, assistant provost, assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs and associate professor of mathematics; UM alumnus Montray Leavy; and Murrell Godfrey, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and UM director of forensic chemistry. The panel will discuss African-Americans who hold professorships and those who have gone into industry.
The next panel, featuring Ole Miss alumni, will explore the impact of black student leaders. The panel includes John Hawkins, Ole Miss’ first black cheerleader; Jackson attorney Kenneth Grigsby; Florida journalist Kitty Dumas; Atlanta pediatrician Keyana Washington; and University of Memphis staff member Courtney Pierce. The 1 p.m. session is slated for the Overby Center.
Evers-Williams’ lecture will follow in Fulton Chapel.
Other events during the reunion on campus include a black-tie banquet with Chancellor Dan Jones, the Ole Miss-Alabama basketball game at 3 p.m., tours of the city and campus facilities, and a Sunday morning devotional service with current and former Gospel Choir members.