July 2

July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963  Medgar Evers

Statue of Medgar Evers

Statue of Medgar Evers

African American civil rights activist Medgar Evers was born on July 2, 1925 in Decatur, Mississippi.   Evers was a veteran of WW II and the D-Day Invasion, a graduate of Alcorn State and very involved in civil rights.  He unsuccessfuly attempted to enroll in the segregated law school of the University of Mississippi with the help of the NAACP.  While working as the first Field Secretary for the NAACP in the South he helped James Meredith do something he was unable to do, enroll at the University of Mississippi.  His civil rights work made him a target of segregationists.  On June 12, 1963, a few minutes after midnight and only hours after President John F. Kennedy delivered his famous civil rights speech in response to federal troops being sent to the University of Alabama to insure safety of students Vivian Malone and James Hood.  He was shot down in his driveway.   Evers at age 37 was assassinated by White Citizen’s Council Member Byron De La Beckwith in Jackson, Mississippi.  Large demonstrations occurred following his death.  His widow Myrlie Evers-Williams remarried and has been active in civil rights over the decades following her husbands death.   She was elected Chairperson of the NAACP in 1995 and announced that she would not seek re-election in 1998.  Medgar Evers is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

USNS Medgar Evers Christening Ceremony with Myrlie Evers-Williams