People across the United States are remembering an icon of the American civil rights movement five decades after his racially motivated murder in Mississippi. The assassination of Medgar Evers galvanized support for the civil rights movement, including the right to vote for African- Americans, especially in Southern states.
Fifty years ago, Medgar Evers was fighting for equal rights for African-Americans in Mississippi. Myrlie Evers worked by her husband’s side. She says his goal was to wipe out discrimination.
“He was a man on a mission, a mission to make his country everything he knew it could be. And certainly to have conditions improve dramatically for his own people,” she said.
Myrlie Evers-Williams says Medgar believed that racial barriers would fall only if blacks were allowed to vote – especially in communities where they outnumbered whites.
“Medgar was determined, having served in the armed services and returning home and being unable to vote or be a first class citizen, then he was going to have to do something about it,” said Evers-Williams.
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As a field secretary for the NAACP [The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], the largest civil rights organization, Evers and others like Reverend Willie Blue registered thousands of blacks in a matter of months.
“We went out into the cotton fields and the byways and highways and everywhere that we could get people to vote and they marked their ballots,” said Blue.
Evers also was instrumental in helping to racially integrate the University of Mississippi and leading boycotts against white merchants so they would allow blacks to eat at their lunch counters. Hollis Watkins was recruited by Evers to join the struggle. ..
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