The Legacy Of Our Icons
Born: July 2, 1925 • Died: June 12, 1963
Medgar Wiley Evers was one of Mississippi’s most impassioned activists, orators, and visionaries for equality and against brutality.
Born July 2, 1925, in Decatur, Mississippi, Evers was one of four children born to James and Jesse Evers. Evers spent the most time with older brother Charles, whom he idolized because Charles protected him, taught him to fish, swim, hunt, box, wrestle, and to think about the world and their segregated schooling. In addition, Evers saw and witnessed acts of raw violence against Blacks; his parents and brother could not shield him from the realities of a society built on racial discrimination.
Evers was inducted into the United States Army in 1942. Though typical at the time, racial segregation in the military only served to anger Evers. By the end of the war, Evers was among a generation of Black veterans committed “to return [home] fighting” for change. The initial “fight” for Evers was to register to vote as an affirmation of citizenship. In the summer of 1946, along with his brother, Charles, and several other Black veterans, Evers registered to vote at the Decatur city hall. But on Election Day, the veterans were prevented by angry whites from casting their ballots.
The experience only deepened Evers’s conviction that the status quo in Mississippi had to change. By 1954, Evers began an 8-year career as the Mississippi state field secretary for the NAACP, including the creating of youth councils. His organizing and murder investigations doubled the number of NAACP members who boycotted and agitated for justice in Mississippi. Murdered in the driveway to his house in 1963, his murderer was not brought to justice until 1994. Thanks to Medgar Evers, the groundwork was laid for the Mississippi freedom and voting rights struggles of the 1960s and 1970s.
All too often, in this fast paced, on demand world, it has become incredibly easy to take for granted the genius of the individuals that equipped us with the everyday tools to make our lives easier from the light bulb, to automatic transmission, even the ice cream scoop. African American inventors have played a huge role in shaping the world we live in today. Some of these heroes and heroines, unfortunately, will not be found in textbook… so we here at the Westside Gazette have compiled a list specifically geared towards recognizing our amazing ancestors. We hope you enjoy and if there’s anyone you would like for us to recognize whether past, present, world renowned, or local, please feel free to email us at email@example.com