A sad anniversary was reached today, as 50 years ago, civil rights activist Medgar Evers was killed in Mississippi by gunfire, as he stepped out of his car at his home, just hours after Alabama Governor George Wallace had stood in the door of the Registrar’s Office at the University of Alabama, attempting to stop the registration of two black students at the university, which had led to President John F. Kennedy’s Civil Rights Speech that evening, one of the greatest Presidential speeches in American history!
It was just past midnight, when Evers, the Mississippi Field Secretary of the NAACP, was slaughtered, leaving three young children and a wife, Myrlie Evers-Williams, who survives him after 50 years, and later became the Chairwoman of the NAACP.
His assassin went free after a hung jury, but was later convicted on new evidence thirty years later, and served time in prison for the last seven years of his life.
A community college in New York City was created within a few years in his honor, and Evers has remained a leading part of the civil rights story.
His death also shaped the thoughts of a young generation of whites and blacks, and stained the reputation of both Mississippi and Alabama, as the two worst states on civil rights above all others, with Mississippi often compared in many ways to Nazi Germany in its treatment of its minority population, before the federal government intervened and enforced civil rights on all states by legislation in 1964, repudiating the arguments of states rights!