Medgar Evers: Civil Rights Leader’s Life and Sacrifice Honored

An Honor Bestowed...


U.S. Navy Illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jay Chu/Released


Sarah Burford, Military Sealift Command Public Affairs of the United States Naval site describes the ceremony for the naming of the USNS Medgar Evers after civil rights activist Medgar Evers in honor of his life and sacrifice:
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13), the newest ship in the U.S. Navy's Lewis and Clark-class of dry cargo/ammunition ships operated by Military Sealift Command (MSC), was christened Nov. 12 during a ceremony at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.

With the traditional words, "I christen you USNS Medgar Evers," Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of the ship's namesake, broke the traditional bottle of champagne against the bow of the ship. Evers was launched Oct. 29 and is scheduled for delivery to MSC in spring 2012. 


Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus looks on as Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of Medgar Evers and ship's sponsor, prepares to break the traditional bottle of champagne across the hull of the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13). Medgar Evers is the 13th ship of the T-AKE class of dry cargo-ammunition ships that General Dynamics is building for the Navy.
(U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Sam Shavers/Released)


Designated T-AKE 13, the 689-foot ship continues the Lewis and Clark-class tradition of honoring legendary pioneers and explorers. The ship is named in honor of slain civil rights leader and Army veteran Medgar Wiley Evers, who is especially remembered for his efforts to end segregation at the University of Mississippi in the 1950s and for his opposition to Jim Crow laws in the 1960s. 

  Evers was appointed Mississippi's first NAACP field officer in 1954 and held the position until his assassination in the front yard of his Mississippi home the night of June 12, 1963, by White Citizens' Council and Ku Klux Klan member Byron De La Beckwith. Evers' murder, which occurred only hours after then-President John F. Kennedy delivered a televised, pro-civil rights speech, was mourned nationally.
 "This technological marvel will carry the strong name of Medgar Evers, as well as the amazing spirit and expertise of the American people, across oceans and seas to every corner of the world," said Navy Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby, commander, MSC, to an audience of more than 1,000 people who braved the rainy morning to attend the event.
 Ceremony attendees included the Evers family, NAACP and other civil rights leaders from around the country, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown, distinguished guests from the U.S. military and maritime industry and NASSCO employees who built the ship.
  "USNS Medgar Evers and its MSC civil service mariner crew will be indispensable to the Navy by daily performing the many tasks required to keep our combat fleets on station, ready to face any aggressor, anywhere in the world," said Buzby.
 USNS Medgar Evers is the 13th of 14 projected dry cargo/ammunition ships built for use by MSC's Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force and Maritime Prepositioning Force.Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force ships deliver ammunition, food, fuel and other supplies to U.S. and allied ships at sea, enabling the Navy to maintain a worldwide forward presence. Maritime Prepositioning Force ships are continuously deployed to strategic locations worldwide, carrying U.S. Marine Corps cargo ready for rapid delivery to Marines ashore.

  "This is truly a wonderful day, one that will go down in the history books and one that will remain in our hearts forever," said Evers-Williams in her remarks to the crowd. 




Personal Statement by

Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus

After Announcement in Jackson,MS

of Ship Naming


 Today in Jackson, Mississippi, I was privileged to honor a civil rights hero and the millions of Americans who have furthered the cause of liberty. As Secretary of the Navy, I am responsible for naming our ships. Today, I announced that the first ship I will name will be the USNS Medgar Evers.
The ship that will carry Medgar Evers name around the world for a generation is a T-AKE, a critically important supply ship. They are traditionally named for famous American pioneers, explorers, and visionaries. They celebrate the dreams and bold action of the American spirit and they honor men and women who have changed our country and the world for the better - men and women like Alan Shepard, Sacagawea, Carl Brashear, and Amelia Earhart. The ships' namesakes represent the rich tapestry that is America.
Medgar Evers carried on that proud tradition as a pioneer and visionary of the civil rights movement. As a young man, he served in France during the Second World War. Upon returning to the United States, he took up the cause of freedom, rose to become the Field Secretary of the NAACP in Mississippi, and campaigned tirelessly to end segregation and ensure equal treatment for every American.
 Charles Evers, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Jackson State University
President Ronald Mason Jr. and Miss. Mayor Harvey Johnson at the Medgar Evers ship naming
event on October 9, 2009
It was an emotional ceremony today when I announced my choice, speaking at the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute on Citizenship and Democracy at Jackson State University. The Institute honors another civil rights leader from Mississippi. I was proud to be joined today by the widow of Medgar Evers, Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams, as well as by Congressman Bennie Thompson, Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson, former Mississippi Governor William Winter, and a score of other civil rights activists and Mississippians. Sharing the moment with them was a humbling experience for me. It reminded me of how far we have come, but also of how much others who went before us sacrificed on our behalf, just like the Sailors and Marines I’m proud to serve as Secretary. 
I believe today we honored the work of legends and in a small way reaffirmed the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that "one day the nation would rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed - that all men are created equal."
~~Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus



2 Responses to Medgar Evers: Civil Rights Leader’s Life and Sacrifice Honored

  • Charline Pitman says:

    I seldom leave a response, however I wanted to thank you for bringing awareness to this event. I knew Mr. Evers personally and am very aware of the sacrifices he made in the years prior to his ultimate sacrifice. The lack of coverage of this event by the media as a whole is a disgrace and underscores their indifference to anything that is not a popular trend. Thank you for being different!

  • Frederick Castleberry says:

    i had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Evers in person and I knew from just the few moments we spoke that he was a man of great courage and conviction. I cannot tell you the rage and deep sadness I felt at his unjust and untimely death. To know that he is being honored for the great man that he was and for the ultimate sacrifice that he made brings me great joy. However, I wonder how many others were unaware of this event? Why did it not receive the large and heavy national coverage that the naming of a ship after someone else would have garnered? In any case, I thank you for sharing this with the world and for honoring this man of courage and dedication.

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