Medgar Evers: Voter Registration Martyr
- Born July 2, 1925, near Decatur, Miss.
- Inducted into the U.S. Army in 1943. After serving in Normandy, he attended Alcorn College, now Alcorn State University. Began to establish local chapters of the NAACP beginning in 1952.
- In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional. Evers applied for, and was denied admission to, the University of Mississippi Law School. That same year he was appointed Mississippi’s first field secretary for the NAACP. His success with boycotts and integrating schools brought him national recognition — but also made enemies among racists and segregationists.
- On June 12, 1963, Evers was killed by an assassin’s bullet. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
- The accused killer, a white supremacist named Byron De La Beckwith, stood trial twice in the 1960s. Both cases ended in mistrials because the all-white juries could not reach a verdict.
- Beckwith was convicted in a third trial in 1994, and sentenced to life in prison.
- When Evers died in 1963, only 28,000 blacks were registered voters. By 1971, there were 250,000. By 1982, there were over 500,000.
Source: University of Mississippi