Medgar Evers to me is a shinning light of love, perseverence, tolerance, the wanting of all people’s to be treated the same. That hatred due to difference especially race would be squashed, stamped out.
He gave his life to bring unity, tolerance, equality to the country he lived in as a civil rights activist.
He suffered so much due to prejudice of African-Americans yet, he never gave up hope of a better future, a fairer future, a future where segregation in his home land would no longer exist.
He was a leading civil rights activist but, when I ask anyone do they know who this brave, courageous soul is they look at me with blank expression and usually say, Medgar who? Yet everyone of them knew of Martin Luther King.
Medgar Evers was president of his local area RCNL Regional Council of Negro Leadership and in time secretary of the NAACP National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People.
He fought for his county in World War II. He was part of the battle of Normandy in June 1944, D Day.
He got a bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Alcorn College in Mississippi a college at the time just for blacks where he was junior class president. Here he meet Myrlie Beasley during this time, and on the 24th December 1951 they married. They moved to Mound Bayou a town set up by and for African Americans.
He was refused entry to law school in the university of Mississippi due to his race. Along with the NAACP and referring to the case Brown v Board of Eduation they went to the supreme court that made a ruling that black people should be allowed enter a white people’s university in America. It was a monumental moment. A piece of history I feel should live in all people’s minds.
He fought for a stop to segregation of black and white people. For fairer economic opportunities for black people. For them to get the right to vote on who will be in power deciding rules over the state and country they belong. For black people not to be excluded and denied access to public areas. He helped in the fight to have integration of all races in schools.
He loved his family, his state, his friends, working to bring integration and equal rights for black people. He was gaining a lot of publicity for his work.
In 1963 on stepping from his car to enter his home where his wife, three kids waited for him one faithful evening he was shot through the heart from 30feet away by Byron DeLa Beckwith, the date June 12th. He was rushed to the local Jackson city hospital where he was refused entry due to his race until they were told by his wife who he was. He died 50 minutes later.
It took three trials, two of which had an all white jury before his murderer was convicted in 1994. This could not have happened if not for the continued work, bravery of his wife Myrlie and a brave Bobby DeLaughter taking on the case to get a third trial despite threats on his life and his family’s.
10,000 marched to see Medgar’s dead body, 5,000 showed up to pay their respects to this brave soul at his funeral where he was buried with full military honours.
Many demonstrations and marches took place due to his death.
His legacy includes; his brother Charles becoming the first African American mayor elected in Mississippi.
His wife Myrlie becoming an activist for the rights of black people.
1963 he was awarded the spingarn medal from the NAACP.
1969 Brooklyn established Medgar Evers college which became part of the City University of New York.
1992 the Jackson city airport was renamed; Jackson-Medgar Willey Evers International.
2013 Alcorn university where he had attended on the 50th anniversary of his death held a memorial and erected a statue in Medgar’s honour. Thousands of people attended. Many prominent people spoke about Medgar and his legacy at this memorial including Bill Clinton and the NAACP president Benjamin Jealous.
Quotes from Medgar Evers I use in my life are;
“You can kill a man but you can’t kill an idea. ”
” When you hate the only person that suffers is you because most of the people you hate don’t know it and the rest don’t care. ”
” If you don’t like what the republicans do, we need to get in there and change it. ”
From this brave soul I have learned never to hate, to do my best to treat all people as equal.
If you are passionate about a cause fight for it with all you have.
Always strife to be the best person you can be. Helping others is a step in the fight to ensure equality for all.
If your government is letting you down do something about it, each person who fights against injustice is a cog in the wheel that can in time help change things for the better.