Medgar Evers One of Mississippi’s Greatest Leaders
As a Child MedgarEvers was born on July 2, 1925. He was from Decatur, Mississippi. He grew up in a farming family. He lived in the country.
Education He graduated from college in 1952. He had to attend a segregated (blacks only) school.
Work • He was a insurance salesman, but when he saw someone almost get lynched, he started working for the Regional Council of Negro Leadership. This was his first work with the RCNL and as a civil rights organizer. This would start his career in helping with the Civil Rights Movement. • He led the boycott against gas stations that refused to let blacks use their restrooms. • His older brother, Charles Evers also worked with National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, so fighting racism was in his family.
Wartime Service He had to serve in the Army in 1943. Evers found segregation on the national level. Racism wasn’t just in Mississippi or other Southern states. This experience with segregation in the Army made him more aware of the civil rights struggle and made him want to do something. Evers fought in both France and Germany during World War II, and received an honorable discharge in 1946. Even though he was fighting for freedom, he was not treated as a free person. World War II was about fighting against hate and racism, yet Evers lived with hate and racism in his hometown.
Advocate Evers tried to go to the University of Mississippi Law School but was denied. He helped James Meredith gain admittance to ‘‘Ole Miss’’ by putting him in contact with NAACP lawyers. In December 1954, he became the NAACP’s ﬁrst ﬁeld secretary in Mississippi. He received many threatening phone calls and harassment. Evers helped publicize injustice and the crime of lynching of Emmett Till in Leﬂore County, Mississippi. They helped gather witnesses and helped witnesses flee the state after testifying so they would not get killed. Evers tried to help blacks get treated equally. Evers helped blacks in Jackson to begin mass demonstrations and rallies in early 1960s. They were protesting Jackson Mayor Alan Thompson because he did not allow a biracial committee to look into Jackson’s racial problems.
Husband and Father • Wife: Myrlie Evers-Williams • Children: Reena Denise Evers, James Van Evers, Darrell Kenyatta Evers
Enemy Byron de la Beckwith was a racist. He hated what blacks were doing, especially black people who were leaders. He hated Medgar Evers. This was strange because Byron de la Beckwith and Medgar Evers both served in the US miltary in Europe and helped fight against racism. Despite both being military veterans, Beckwith hated Medgar Evers and assassinated him. Many people lied in court to protect Beckwith and he was not found guilty of the crime until the late 1990s.
Fateful Night • When Medgar Evers returned home, a sniper shot and killed him as he was walking into his house. • He did not want to die for helping equality, but he was willing to die. He was a martyr for the Civil Rights.
His Death • Because he was shot by a sniper, it helped the nation see how bad life was in the deep South for black people.
References • http://www.biography.com/people/medgar-evers-9542324 • http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/medgar_evers.htm • http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_evers_medgar_1925_1963/ • http://geoffrey_pope.tripod.com/lifeanddeathofmedgarevers/id1.html