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Medgar Evers, 50 Years Later

The story and legacy of slain civil rights hero Medgar Evers, 50 years after his assassination in Mississippi.

Medgar Evers, state secretary for the NAACP is seen, Aug. 9, 1955 in Jackson, Mississippi. (AP)

Medgar Evers, state secretary for the NAACP is seen, Aug. 9, 1955 in Jackson, Mississippi. (AP)

Medgar Evers is not a man to be forgotten. A civil rights movement hero of incredible courage who stood up to report and resist sharp racist oppression in Jim Crow Mississippi. A father of three 37 years old when he was gunned down 50 years ago this week in the driveway of his Mississippi home.

Medgar Evers pulled back the Cotton Curtain that hid the scale and depth of racial abuse from the world. And he was killed for it. Shot in the back in the middle of the night.

This hour On Point: the story and legacy of Medgar Evers – American hero.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Michael Vinson Williams, author of “Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr.” Professor of History and African American Studies at Mississippi State University.

Bernard Lafayette Jr., longtime civil rights activist and organizer. Co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960, and directed the Alabama Voter Registration Project in 1962.

Haley Barbour, 62nd Governor of Mississippi, served from 2004 to 2012. (@haleybarbour)

From Tom’s Reading List

ABC News: Medgar Evers’ Widow Myrlie ‘Can’t Let Dream Die’ 50 Years Later — “It has been 50 years since civil rights leader Medgar Evers was gunned down in the driveway outside his home in Jackson, Miss., and his widow, Myrlie Evers-Williams, says she still feels him speaking to her. At a memorial honoring him in Washington Wednesday, Evers-Williams remembered her husband’s saying, ‘I love my wife and I love my children. And I will give my life and give it gladly so that they can have a better life in this country of mine.'”

The Times Picayune: Remembering Medgar Evers’ assassination and writer Eudora Welty’s angry response — “Byron De La Beckwith had yet to be identified, arrested or tried as the man who on June 11, 1963, killed Medgar Evers, the Mississippi field secretary for the NAACP. And yet, Eudora Welty, one of the state’s most gifted writers, knew who he was. No, Welty didn’t know De La Beckwith’s name or what he looked like. But Welty was from Mississippi and of Mississippi, and she knew Mississippi. So even if she didn’t know the name or look of the assassin, she was dead certain she knew how he’d sound.”

Jackson Clarion-Ledger: Medgar Evers: Assassin’s gun forever changed a family — “No matter where Charles Evers tromped, Medgar Evers trailed behind. The preteen brothers explored the woods of Newton County, Miss., stepping past endless pines and hurdling creeks where the water ran muddy red. Charles taught his brother, 3 years younger, how to hunt and fish. Better yet, he taught him how to punch.”

Playlist

“Too Many Martyrs” by Phil Ochs

“Only A Pawn In Their Game” by Bob Dylan

“Ballad Of Medgar Evans” by SNCC Freedom Singers, led by Matthew Jones

 

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