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Senators’ Bill Would Authorize Study on Adding Home of Slain Civil Right Leader to National Park System

unnamedU.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today introduced legislation to explore whether the home of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers should be designated a National Park Service unit.

The legislation would authorize a special resource study to evaluate the national significance of the Medgar Evers home in Jackson and determine the suitability and feasibility of designating it as a unit of the National Park System.

“Medgar Evers was a pivotal civil rights leader, who fought for justice and helped change Mississippi and the nation for the better. The study authorized by our legislation would direct the National Park Service to help determine how best to preserve his legacy,” Cochran said.

“The Medgar Wiley Evers Home Museum honors the life of a leader who helped shape the civil rights movement,” said Wicker. “With several thousand visitors every year, the museum merits an evaluation for inclusion in the National Parks System. If awarded, this designation would be a great honor for all Mississippians.”

The legislation is supported by Tougaloo College, which acquired the Evers home in 1993 and designated it as a museum in 1997. The site is a designated Mississippi landmark under the State Antiquity Law and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The measure, which is a companion measure to legislation introduced in the House by Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), would also stipulate that the study should consider alternatives for preserving, protecting and interpreting the site by federal, state, or local governments, or private entities and organizations.

Medgar Evers, a World War II veteran and civil rights leader, was assassinated shot June 12, 1963, in the driveway of his home while his family was inside. The home, preserved by Tougaloo College, includes items regarding the Evers’ career and legacy.

Related to the preservation of key civil rights articles, the FY2016 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee in June includes $5.0 million within the National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund to document, interpret, and preserve the sites and stories associated with the Civil Rights Movement as part of its Centennial Initiative. Cochran serves as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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