A highway marker was unveiled Friday in Newton. It designates the interchange of I-20 and Highway 15 as the Medgar Evers Memorial Interchange.
A community tribute to Medgar Evers last year at East Central Community College led to the request that the state Legislature name the Interstate 20/Highway 15 interchange for Evers, who went to school in Newton and was born near Decatur.
Evers was the state NAACP field secretary gunned down outside his Jackson home by Byron de la Beckwith in 1963.
"Each year we have always honored the memory of Medgar Evers during the month of June with a memorial celebration, and this is something that we would love to have seen a long time ago, but we're just thankful that we're getting it done now in our lifetime," said Diann Chapman, co-chair of the Newton County-Medgar Evers Memorial
"Mississippi, as we all know, has a history of struggles and difficulties between people, and yet I think we've moved far beyond where some of us maybe even dreamed we would, but we're not there yet," said Bill May, a member of the Newton County-Medgar Evers Committee.
The unveiling ceremony was held at Newton City Hall rather than the busy intersection where the sign "Medgar Evers Memorial Interchange" will be displayed.
"First of all, it's an honor for Newton to be the host city for the Medgar Evers Memorial Interchange," said Hamp Beatty, mayor of Newton. "And what I hope it would say to people passing through and people in Mississippi is the city of Newton is progressive and the state of Mississippi is progressive, and that we're honoring a person who is a hero to our state and a person who gave his life for the right thing."