By WLOX Staff
JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The Navy is honoring slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers by naming a supply ship in honor of him. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a former governor of Mississippi, announced the honor Friday during a speech at Jackson State University.
The nearly 700-foot-long vessel named for Evers will deliver food, ammunition and parts to other ships at sea.
"Through his life and tragic death, Medgar Evers demonstrated a commitment to service and sacrifice, and I think it is fitting that the Navy is naming a ship in his honor," Sen. Thad Cochran said in a statement released by his office. "He has an esteemed place in the history of Mississippi and the nation, and this honor should bring even greater attention to his civil rights legacy."
During the civil rights movement Evers organized nonviolent protests, voter registration drives and boycotts in Mississippi, rising to the post of national field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
"I applaud the Navy for assigning a ship to be named after a great Mississippian and civil rights leader," Sen. Roger Wicker said in a statement.
"Medgar Evers lived and died in full commitment of freedom and equality. Now a ship named after him will fly our nation's flag and support sailors around the world who are committed to protecting the rights and freedoms we all cherish. I cannot think of a more fitting way to honor Medgar Evers' life and legacy."
In 1963 Evers was assassinated in the driveway of his home in Jackson after returning from a meeting with NAACP lawyers.