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Episode 50: Medgar Evers and the Civil Rights Movement

podcast Nov 05, 2021

In this solo episode, Sharon tells the courageous story of Mississippi native Medgar Evers. Medgar was a well-known and well-liked man who was involved in many organizations throughout his time in college, and following this, he became involved in the NAACP and the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s. He never wanted to be in the public, but he saw a job that needed to be done. He was gaining momentum in the movement when he was tragically assassinated by a man who did not want the change that he was fighting for. In this story, you will learn more about Medgar’s Civil Rights efforts, in addition to the justice that was served to the man who ended them.

Links to Full Episode:

This Episode Will Teach You:

  • Story of Medgar Evers 
  • Civil Rights in schools
  • Integration of Ole Miss 
  • Accomplishments of Medgar Evers
  • JFK’s Civil Rights Act
  • Byron De La Beckwith, the man who murdered Medgar

3 Biggest Takeaways:

  • This episode tells the story of Mississippi native Medgar Evers. When he graduated from high school, he joined the army to fight in World War II, and following his return, he went to college. In college, he was well respected and very involved as a member of the football team, track team, choir, debate team, and junior class president. When he graduated and settled down with a family, he realized he wanted his life’s work to be dedicated to Civil Rights and equality.
  • Medgar became very well-known for his actions towards Civil Rights - he was a hero to many, while also being an enemy to those who did not want change. One of his first Civil Rights acts was helping to integrate Ole Miss, where he was once denied from law school because of his race, this took seven years following Brown vs. Board of Education. Medgar and the change he was bringing was so feared by some, that multiple assassination attempts were made against him. One day when returning home from work, he was assassinated in his front yard. Following his passing, there was a national outpouring of grief and 5,000 people, including Martin Luther King, marched in the streets of Jackson.
  • The Mississippi authorities found the man who shot Medgar very quickly, his name was Byron De La Beckwith. He was the same age as Medgar and had similar experiences - he was in the military and went to college following, but took a different path by joining multiple white supremacy groups. Beckwith saw the attention Medgar was receiving and acted on his hatred. Beckwith went to trial for the murder and because of laws that restricted the rights of Black Americans, was tried in front of a jury of all white men, who eventually came back with a hung jury. He was put on trial again and had the same outcome, letting him go free. The FBI kept track of him and he was caught before he was able to commit another hate crime. Medgar’s wife never gave up on bringing him to justice and in 1994 Beckwith went to trial again and was finally convicted.

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