Jackson, Mississippi The United Methodist Church in Mississippi is honoring 28 white ministers who took a stand against segregation half a century ago.
Slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers' wife, Myrlie Evers, was to present the state conference's Emma Elzy Award on Sunday to ministers Keith Tonkel and Maxie Dunnam on behalf of all 28 who signed the statement published in January 1963. It was written largely in response to riots after James Meredith was admitted to the University of Mississippi in autumn 1962.
The Commercial Appeal reports that within six months of its publication in the Mississippi Methodist Advocate, at least 20 of the pastors who signed it had left Mississippi because of public and private threats and condemnation.
Fifteen of the ministers are still alive.