PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s Black History Month will be highlighted with a free public address at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 by civil rights leader Myrlie Evers-Williams, former chair of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Board of Directors and widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers.
The address, in WSU’s Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum, is sponsored by Avista Utilities-WWP Division, WSU and the University of Idaho.
A wide range of other events are planned for the month including movies, a banquet and drama production, and a gospel music concert.
A reception on the coliseum concourse will follow the Feb. 17 address. Evers-Williams, a Bend, Ore., resident, will sign copies of her new autobiography. The book, “Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be,” will be for sale at the event.
The program will include greetings by T. L. “Les” Purce, WSU extended university affairs vice president, and an introduction by Ernestine Madison, associate vice president for administration and assistant to the president for human relations and diversity. Singer-pianist Edna Baptiste of Seattle will perform.
Evers-Williams and her first husband, Medgar, opened and managed the first Mississippi office of the NAACP. They lived under constant threats as they worked for voting rights, economic stability, fair housing, equality, justice and dignity.
Evers-Williams and the couple’s three small children witnessed Medgar Evers’ assassination in the front of their Jackson, Miss., home in 1963. Two hung juries failed to convict the suspect accused of the murder. In 1994, she was present at the third trial in which the suspect was tried and found guilty of murder. He is now serving life in prison.
WSU’s Black History Month observance includes a showing of two films about Medgar Evers. “The Ghost of Mississippi” will show at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 in the Compton Union Building auditorium. Staring Alec Baldwin and Whoopi Goldberg, it is a courtroom drama about assistant district attorney Bobby DeLaughter, who takes on the Medgar Evers case 25 years after the murder. “For Us, The Living” will show at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 17, in Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum prior to Evers-Williams address. It stars the late Howard Rollins Jr. as Medgar Evers and shows how his strength and courage were necessary to bring about social change.
Also on the calendar for Black History Month are a banquet and play planned for 7 p.m. Feb. 22, in the Compton Union Building Ballroom. Tickets for the annual event can be arranged by calling the Office of Multicultural Student Services, 509/335-8187.
On Feb. 23, the film “Daughters of the Dust,” with a discussion led by WSU faculty member Bill Pincheon, is planned for 7 p.m. at Wilson Hall, Room 6. The turn-of-the century black family saga about descendents of slaves who are preparing for a move to the U.S. mainland from islands near South Carolina is hailed for its cinematography and narrative.
A Gospel Extravaganza is planned for 6 p.m. Feb. 27 in the CUB Ballroom. The WSU Unity Choir and several Spokane areas choirs are on the program.
For more information on Black History Month at WSU, call the Office of Multicultural Student Services, 509/335-8187.