URBANA — Renowned civil rights activist Myrlie Evers will deliver the keynote address Wednesday at the University of Illinois' culminating celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation sesquicentennial.
Evers' talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, at Foellinger Great Hall in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to her speech, several groups will perform, including the Black Chorus, the Men's and Women's Glee Clubs and the Wind Symphony. The event is part of a series of recent events around the community marking the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in the Confederate states not under Union military control, on Jan. 1, 1863.
At the event, Evers will receive the Presidential Award and Medallion in recognition of her life of activism for social justice and service to humanity.
Evers, who last month delivered the invocation at President Barack Obama's inauguration, is the widow of Medgar Evers, a Mississippi native who fought to overturn segregation. He was murdered in 1963.
After her husband's assassination, Myrlie Evers continued to fight for social justice.
Over the years she has been involved with the National Women's Educational Fund and the NAACP, serving as that organization's first female chair from 1995 to 1998.
After serving as the NAACP's chair, she established the Medgar Evers Institute in Jackson, Miss., an organization that promotes democracy, freedom and justice.