Civil Rights Leader Medgar Evers

By | Jun 12, 2008

Forty-Five years ago on June 12, 1963, civil rights activist and NAACP leader Medgar Evers was on his way to his home in Jackson Mississippi when he was struck down by an assassin’s bullet. Earlier in the day, President John F. Kennedy had delivered a speech supporting civil rights on national television.

Evers was born on July 2, 1925 in Decatur Mississippi. He served in the army during WWII and was discharged as a Sergeant in 1945. After years of living in segregation and being a victim of it he became involved in the civil rights movement and held the role of a NAACP Field Secretary when he was murdered.

Bryon De La Beckwith, a white supremacist, was charged with Evers murder on June 23, 1964. With all white juries he was tried twice in the 1960’s with both of them ending with hung juries. In 1994 with new evidence Beckwith was brought to trial again this time he was convicted. The murdered had lived as a free man for over 30 years. Beckwith died in prison in January 2001.

Evers became a martyr and his death helped to bring Congress to prepare the civil-rights bill that was signed into law by President Johnson in 1964.

Evers was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on June 19th with full military honors. It was one of the largest funeral held at Arlington with more than three thousand people attending.

After his death Evers brother Charles was appointed to his position. By 1969 Charles Evers was elected Mayor of Fayette, Mississippi and became a major political figure.


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