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UMMC to name research program for Evers-Williams

- Associated Press - Friday, June 13, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The University of Mississippi Medical Center has named a research institute on child health disparities and minority men's health after civil rights advocate Myrlie Evers-Williams.

The Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities will be located at the Jackson Medical Mall.

Evers-Williams, speaking at Friday's announcement, said it is particularly important for men to do a better job of taking care of their own health. She talked about losing two men she loves to serious medical conditions that were diagnosed late - largely, she believes, because they waited to seek medical attention when their own bodies were telling them they were ill.

"I ask myself," Evers-Williams said, "'what is it about the male species, that you have to be strong, that you have to be invincible, that you will not seek out medical care when your body is telling you that you should?'"

Evers-Williams' second husband, Walter Williams, died of prostate cancer in February 1995 at age 76.

The eldest of her three children with Medgar Evers, Darrell Kenyatta Evers, died of colon cancer in February 2001 at age 47.

"Men, wake up. Take care of yourselves," Evers-Williams said. "If we are going to be strong people, regardless of race, we have to be healthy people. And if Mississippi is going to be a strong state in every way, we have to be healthier, too."

Evers-Williams is the widow of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers. She moved back to Mississippi from Oregon in 2012 to teach at Alcorn State University in Lorman. Evers-Williams was national chairwoman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from 1995 to 1998.

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