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Pepperdine University Welcomes Civil Rights Activist Myrlie Evers to Keynote “Legacy of a Movement: Celebrating Medgar and Myrlie Evers”



March 6, 2023 – Malibu, CA – Pepperdine University will welcome Myrlie Evers and reporter Jerry Mitchell to share her story and insights at “Legacy of a Movement: Celebrating Medgar and Myrlie Evers,” Thursday, March 16, honoring the contributions of Medgar and Myrlie Evers to the civil rights movement.
“Pepperdine is committed to the cause of peace and justice and is honored to share memories of the landmark story of Medgar and Myrlie Evers, towering figures in the civil rights movement, on the occasion of her 90th birthday,” said J. Goosby Smith, Pepperdine University vice president for community belonging and chief diversity officer.
WHAT: Legacy of a Movement: Celebrating Medgar and Myrlie Evers
Myrlie Evers, former national chair of the NAACP
Jerry Mitchell, whose tenacious reporting influenced authorities to reopen cold murder cases from the civil rights era.

WHEN: Thursday, March 16 (the eve of Myrlie Evers’ 90th birthday)
Birthday Celebration - 3:30 PM PDT
Keynote Event - 5 PM PDT

WHERE: Pepperdine University
Birthday Celebration - Seaver Board Room
Keynote Event - Elkins Auditorium

Historical Background:
Just after midnight on June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers arrived home after a long meeting of the NAACP. President John F. Kennedy had just delivered a major civil rights speech, and the activist organization was already in the midst of making plans and taking action. Evers parked his car in the driveway of his small suburban home in Jackson, Mississippi, when he was shot in the back while searching for his house keys. His family, still awake and enjoying hopeful conversation after President Kennedy’s speech, heard the sound of the gunfire and rushed to his aid as he staggered to the porch of his home. He collapsed in front of his family and died from his wounds within the hour.

Across the street, the gunman made a sloppy escape from the scene. He not only had a well-known motive, but he also left clues and evidence that would have convicted many murder suspects. But in the 1960s, two all-white juries in two trials failed to reach a verdict, and Byron De La Beckwith, the man who pulled the trigger, went free. 

Myrlie Evers, a civil rights activist in her own right, continued the fight for justice in the case of her husband’s murder. Finally in 1994, with the support of committed prosecutors, willing witnesses, and Jerry Mitchell, a tenacious reporter, Byron De La Beckwith was sentenced to life in prison. Myrlie had found justice for her husband more than 30 years after his assassination.

About Pepperdine University
Founded in 1937, Pepperdine University is an independent, Christian university located 30 miles west of Downtown Los Angeles in scenic Malibu, California. The University enrolls approximately 10,300 students across its flagship liberal arts school, Seaver College; the Caruso School of Law; the Graziadio Business School; the Graduate School of Education and Psychology; and the School of Public Policy. Pepperdine is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. Follow Pepperdine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


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