Medgar Evers, a True Possibilist
America’s Civil Rights Movement was a time of incredible change. People of all races and backgrounds came together to fight for a common cause: equal rights for the African American population. Martin Luther King Jr., the face of the civil rights movement and whose legacy is celebrated in the holiday we recently observed, had many great followers who also rose to the challenge and put their lives on the line in the name of change. One of those such persons was Mississippi’s own Medgar Wiley Evers. He exemplified what was possible: an attainable future where everyone could live freely and fairly. Many things are named after him including the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers Airport. February is Black History Month, and I’d like to share a few things about Evers you might not know.
Medgar Evers was strongly involved in the NAACP, or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In fact, he was the first person to hold the position of field secretary in the South.
Evers was a soldier in WWII and participated in the Normandy invasion. After his assassination, he was given a funeral with full military honors.
While serving in the NAACP, Medgar Evers was involved in the investigation of the murder of Emmett Till.
Just hours after President Kennedy delivered a speech about the moral obligation to desegregate the South, Medgar Evers was shot in front of his home.
Evers’ house was designated as a National Historical Landmarker in 2017. It is open for tours. The address is 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive, Jackson.
The accompanying photo of the painting of Mr. Evers was painted by Jason Bouldin and can be viewed at the Mississippi Museum of Art.
Few Mississippians can discuss the groundbreaking significance of the Civil Rights movement without discussing Medgar Evers. As citizens of the United States, I believe it is our responsibility to learn more about the great men and women who helped form and grow this nation for the better.
“You can kill a man, but you can’t kill an idea.” - Medgar Wiley Evers