OXFORD, Miss.–The commencement address at the University of Mississippi this weekend was given by Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers.
Evers-Williams, a civil rights activist, spoke to the graduates and guests about not playing it safe in life and when storms arise don’t back down.
She said seeing all the graduates and being on campus was two-fold.
“There were feelings of pride and joy, tinged with a wee bit of sadness because I wish Medgar had lived to see these positive changes,” she said.
Her late husband was denied access to the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1954.
She spoke to the media about Medgar’s will to improve the situation around him in regards to civil rights for all people.
“When that bullet tore open his chest, and he fell forward, that was six-foot two-inches towards justice and equality.”
After her speech, Chancellor Dan Jones surprised Evers-Williams with the Humanitarian Award from the University of Mississippi that has only been given out three times in history.
“You know I was very emotional about that, I deeply appreciate it,” she said.
The only other recipients are Jim and Sally Barksdale along with William and Elise Winter.