Medgar Evers Home Museum – Jackson, Mississippi

Medgar Evans house.jpgMedgar Evers Home MuseumJackson, Mississippi

Medgar Evers was one of the first civil rights worker that was assassinated due to his work to bring equality to the African American population in the United States.  Although the home that he and his family lived in is not grand, it’s evidence of little wealth but a great deal of power.  The house does not inspire awe, it’s the story of the man that lived there that brings to life the struggle he fought and the principles he lived by that make you realize the importance of such a dwelling.

Medgar Evers was assassinated in his own driveway.  The killer was free for years before justice was served. 

Medgar Evers (1925-1963) was the field secretary for the NAACP.  His death prompted President John Kennedy to ask Congress for a comprehensive civil-rights bill, which President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the following year.

Mississippi, at that time, was a place of blatant discrimination where blacks dared not even speak of civil rights and certainly couldn’t actively campaign for them.  Evers, wanted to change the state, he wanted a better life for the African American citizens.  He paid for this commitment with his life.  He was shot in the back on June 12, 1963, after returning late from a meeting.  He was 37 years old.

Evers has lived with the threat of violence for years.  He was featured on a nine-man death list in the Deep South as early at 1955.  Still, he continued in his efforts to integrate public facilities, schools, and restaurants.  He organized voter registration drives and demonstrations.  He spoke eloquently about the plight of the African American population and pleaded with the all-white government of Mississippi for some sort of progress in race relations.

Although he certainly didn’t want to die for the cause, he was willing to do it if that’s what happened.  In some ways, the death of Medgar Evers was a milestone in the hard-fought integration war that rocked American in the 50’s and 60’s.  It spurred other civil rights leaders – themselves targets of white supremacists- to new fervor.  They, in turn, were able to infuse their followers, both black and white, with a new and expanded sense of purpose, one that replaced apprehension with anger.  It created a sense of no more fear in the movement; it was a catalyst to move onward for equality.

Byron de la Beckwith was tried three times for the murder of Evers.  On December 23, 1997 the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the conviction for the 1963 assassination of the civil rights leader. 

The court said that the 31 year lapse between the ambush slaying and Mr. Beckwith’s conviction did not deny him a fair trial.  Mr. Beckwith, at the time of his conviction, an old man and ill, was tried twice in the Evers killing in 1964, but both juries deadlocked.  The case was resurrected, and he was convicted in 1994.

Location: 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive, Jackson, Mississippi 39213

Phone: 601-977-7710