May 8, 2008

Medgar Evers

Medgar's wife, Myrlie kissing him goodbye at Medgar's funeral
In July of 1963 civil rights activist Medgar Evers was shot in the back while exiting his car in the drive way of his Mississippi home. Ironically, his wife and children were inside watching President Kennedy's famous speech against segregation. Medgar staggered, bleeding to his front door as his wife and children ran out of the house trying to aid him. He died close to an hour later at an area hospital. 

Medgar was born in July 2, 1925 in Decatur, Mississippi. He enrolled in Alcorn State University in 1948 and married fellow student Myrlie Beasley in 1951. His increasing roll in fair treatment in the black community made him a target of death threats and violence.He was an active member of the RCNL (Regional Council of Negro Leadership) Medgar helped to organize boycotts against gas stations that wouldn't allow blacks to use their restrooms.

The night Medgar was shot a gun was found at the scene which was traced back to a man named Byron De La Beckwith, a man with known ties to the Ku Klux Clan and White supremacist organizations. Beckwith evaded justice twice when both court trails resulted in a hung jury. In 1994 Medgar's widow, Myrlie, helped to reopen the 30 year case and retry Beckwith. Bobby B. DeLaughter was the prosecutor and later wrote a book about the case entitled Never Too Late: A Prosecutor's Story of Justice in the Medgar Evers Case
Byron De La Beckwith

Medgar's body was exhumed by Dr. Michael Baden. Dr. Baden commented in his book Dead Reckoning and on his series Autopsy that Medgar's body was in remarkable condition. So good in fact, that Dr. Baden called Medgar's son to come view the body. Medgar's son was just a little boy when his father was murdered and barely remembered him. Dr. Baden set up the autopsy room like a funeral parlor and was able to reunite father and son. It was an incredible touching and powerful moment.

Beckwith was convicted of murder on February 5, 1994. Beckwith appealed several times without success and died in prison on January 21, 2001.

A movie was made about Edgar's Murder entitled Ghosts of Mississippi directed by Rob Reiner. An excellent movie starring Whoopie Goldburg, as Myrlie Evers and Alec Baldwin as Bobby DeLaughter. 

For More Information:
Medgar Evers - Wikipedia

NAACP History - Medgar Evers

Find A Grave- Medgar Evers

Life Magazine - Behind The Picture: Medgar Evers Funeral

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