Myrlie Evers spoke from the heart when she talked about the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Saturday afternoon. She talked of the struggle in understanding the connection with these two museums.
“For those of you, who have walked hand in hand with me, through the stress, through the turmoil, through my period of hatred of my native state. Of coming out of that dark veil, into one of white and sunshine, warmth, and belief, that Mississippi is not all that people think that it is.
“It is so much more. It is so much more because of the people, such as you in the audience, such as the people on this stage, who have given so much.
“Such as the people who are included in the Mississippi’s two museums. I will tell you when I first heard of the concept of two museums, I immediately thought: Are we going back to our old practices? Are we having two separate, but possibly equal museums?”
She tells Governor William Winter that he played a major role in helping her to understand, that there were two museums, joined by steps, but “each had a different role and they were both here on Mississippi ground.”
“Where I have and do love the state and all the promises to its citizens. the leadership that is shown to people in the United States of America and around the world. I understand, now, Governor Winter and others, the two museums:
“For one is not complete without the other. I had the opportunity of going through both, with time to look and to digest what is there. These museums, my friends are priceless.”
She continued her speech with hope for the future of Mississippi, the amount of learning and healing that will come out of these two great museums in Mississippi.
“The learning that will flow from them, into the people that go there and study and watch and feel the emotion from walls that we think have no feeling… You hear the sounds of the horror, but you hear the sounds of the coming together and building, a not only a strong nation but the State of Mississippi.
“I stand before you today saying ‘I believe in the state of my birth and that is something that I never thought I would say. But, today I stand before you and I speak the truth.’
“In going through the museums I had a better understanding of the state of Mississippi and I thought I knew the state of my birth. Going through the museum, of my history, I wept. Because I felt the blows, I felt the bullets, I felt the tears, I felt the cries. but, I also sensed the hope that dwelled in the hearts of all of those people… Both buildings share the same heart, share the same beat of humanity.”
Listen to the full speech here.