WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) have celebrated the National Park Service decision to designate the Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Evers home in Jackson as a National Historic Landmark.
The Mississippi Senators last February endorsed the designation of the Evers home as a national significant historic place. Medgar Evers, a World War II veteran and civil rights leader, was assassinated June 12, 1963, in the driveway of his home while his family was inside.
“The National Historic Landmark designation is an important step toward recognizing and preserving significant Civil Rights sites in Mississippi and around the country,” Cochran said. “The sacrifices made by Medgar and Myrlie Evers deserve this distinction, and I am pleased with this National Park Service action.”
“The Medgar and Myrlie Evers House has long been worthy of receiving the National Historic Landmark designation by the National Park Service,” Wicker said. “This is great news for Mississippi, as it honors the life of a leader who helped shape the civil rights movement. I am pleased that this Jackson landmark will now receive nationwide recognition.”
The designation asserts that the home and site of Evers’ assassination is a nationally significant place that illustrates important persons, events and themes in American history. As part of the Historic Landmarks Program, the Evers home will be eligible for grants and certain tax credits. The residence is now owned by Tougaloo College and operated as a museum.
The U.S. Department of the Interior announcement notes that Medgar Evers’ murder “became one of the catalysts for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His assassination also forced Myrlie Evers into a more prominent role for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Both Medgar and Myrlie were major contributors to advancing the goals of the civil rights movement on a national level. Medgar Evers was the first nationally significant civil rights leader to be murdered.”
The Evers listing is one of 24 sites nationally that were announced by the NPS on Wednesday. The federal listing will enhance the site, which is already recognized as a Mississippi landmark under the State Antiquity Law and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Related to this action, Cochran and Wicker are expected to reintroduce legislation in the 115th Congress to authorize a special resources study to determine the feasibility of adding the Evers home as an official unit of the National Park Service.
For fiscal year 2016, Congress also approved an $8 million appropriation within the National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund to document, interpret, and preserve sites and stories associated with the Civil Rights Movement, many of which are in Mississippi, that have yet to be adequately addressed. Cochran, as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, worked to secure this funding.