Medgar Evers is an American martyr. He grew up in Mississippi. After high school he joins the army and fought in the battle of Normandy in WWII. He returns home and graduates from Alcorn State College.
Evers was an insurance salesman, but his real vocation was organizing. He began a boycott of gas stations that refused blacks the use of their restrooms, helped James Meredith enroll in the University of Mississippi, he organized protests about the segregation of Biloxi’s beaches, and helped integrate Jackson’s buses and public parks. He led voter registration drives and used a boycott to integrate the Mississippi State Fair.
But all his activism attracted the attention of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens Council. Evers lived in constant fear for his life.
In the early morning of June 12, 1963, Evers returned home from a voting rights meeting. As he gets of his car he is shot in the back. He fell to the ground and staggered to his front door where his wife finds him. He dies 50 minutes later. He was 37 years old.
If you have problems understanding what Black Lives Matter means, look no further to the trial of Evers’ killer.
Byron de la Beckwith a member of the white citizens council and KKK was arrested for the murder. But all-white juries twice deadlock and do not convict him. Clearly, to the jurors of Mississippi, Evers’s life did not matter.
Beckwith was free for the next 30 years. But in 1994 the federal government, having new evidence, tries Beckwith again. This time he is found guilty. He dies in prison.
3,000 people gather at Arlington for Evers’ military burial. After Evers is laid to rest, his wife, brother, and thousands of others go back to do the work for which he died.