Medgar Evers Assassination
Medgar Evers, a prominent African American civil rights activist and field secretary for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), was assassinated by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith on June 12, 1963, in Jackson, Mississippi.
Born on July 2, 1925, in Decatur, Mississippi, Medgar Evers dedicated his life to fighting racial segregation and advocating for equal rights for African Americans. After serving in World War II, Evers returned to the United States and became involved in the civil rights movement. He attended Alcorn State University and later became the first field secretary for the NAACP in Mississippi, where he organized voter registration drives, boycotts, and civil rights protests.
On the night of June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers was shot in the back in the driveway of his home. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The assassination made national headlines and deeply affected the civil rights movement and American society.
Byron De La Beckwith, a White Citizens’ Council member, and the Ku Klux Klan, was arrested and charged with Evers’ murder. However, two all-white juries failed to reach a verdict in his trials, and he was set free. It wasn’t until 1994, more than 30 years after Evers’ assassination, that Beckwith was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He died in 2001 while serving his sentence.
The assassination of Medgar Evers significantly impacted the civil rights movement and American popular culture. The event inspired various songs, poems, and books, including works by Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, and Eudora Welty. In 1996, the film “Ghosts of Mississippi” was released, chronicling the story of Evers’ assassination and the eventual conviction of his murderer.
Medgar Evers’ life and tragic death continue to inspire those fighting for racial equality and justice. His assassination further galvanized the civil rights movement, leading to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.