Medgar Evers

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Medgar Evers (circa 1963)

Medgar Wiley Evers (July 2, 1925 - June 12, 1963) was an American civil rights activist and the NAACP's first field secretary in Mississippi, who was murdered by Byron De La Beckwith. Evers, a decorated U.S. Army combat veteran who had served in World War II, was engaged in efforts to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi, end the segregation of public facilities, and expand opportunities for African Americans including the enforcement of voting rights.


  • When you hate, the only person that is suffering is you because most of the people you hate don’t know it and the rest don't care.
    • As quoted in For Us, the Living by Myrlie Evers-Williams, ‎William Peters (1996)
  • Negroes in Mississippi are being “hood winked” and “cow licked” into believing that everything is well with his condition here in the state. State and national officials are engaging in an extensive brainwashing campaign to induce the Mississippi Negro to remain silent and complacent about the rights he is now being denied. Evidence of these brainwashing techniques is found in the every day attempt on the part of some jurist or politician who praises the “so called harmonious race relations,” that exist in the state, and at the same time deny Negroes, regardless to their educational qualification, the right to register and vote.

Speech at Mt. Heron Baptist Church (11 August 1957)[edit]

"Source" (11 August 1957)

  • Christian friends, brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen. I consider it a blessing from almighty God to have this very spiritual pleasure to fellowship with you on this men’s day program and to be able to acknowledge the very presence of God within me.
  • You know we are not as grateful and obliging to God as He would have us to be. We men often take our being too much for granted. We often feel that our responsibility and obligation to God ends when we make a liberal church contribution and attend services regularly. Granted, both are essential in our daily Christian lives but one equally important factor nis often expressed in the “negative” by the following quotation: “Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.” As I remember from my youth being taught the Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That part of the Golden Rule is now in many instances being shelved as being obsolete or outdated and therefore no longer usable in this day and time which is possibly the saddest mistake we find ourselves making
  • Man is, I would say, God's chosen creature on the face of the earth so much so until in the creation God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God, created He Him: male and female, created He them. If we note with care the word image which means likeness or an imitation of any person or thing one is immediately impressed with the fact that we are God’s children who possess his likeness and who consequently should do His will. That is unquestionably the obligation man owes to God——do His will.
  • Now we come to the other part of our topic, “man’s obligation to man.” Certainly we cannot do the will of God without treating our fellow man as we would have him treat us. It is a biblical axiom that to say you love God and hate your fellow man is hypocrisy of possibly the greatest magnitude. So many of us fall into this category either consciously or unconsciously until it behooves each of us to check ourselves closely so as to avoid becoming a party to hate or misunderstanding.
  • We, as men, owe it to our fellow man and to our children to stand firm and stand out for those things that we are entitled to. I count it a blessing from God that I am able to withstand ridicule and abuse because I am willing to stand for my fellow man though many show no appreciation for the work that we are trying to do in their behalf.
  • Christian friends, we are in a righteous struggle. We are living in a great day, a momentous day, a glorious day, a day that will be forever inscribed in the annals of history and in the minds of men. Now, my friends, I have one or two requests to make and I feel that these requests should be the paramount objective of each person here today. Number one: let us vow to treat our fellow man as we would like him to treat us. Two, let us be in a spirit of cooperativeness.
  • As men living in as highly a diversified and complex society as ours, it is our duty and responsibility to our fellow men and our children to tackle the problems that lie ahead with faith and courage. Faith that is spoken of in the Bible, which in paraphrase says “Only possess the faith of a small mustard seed and you will be able to move mountains and then the courage to withstand the greatest onslaught the enemy can muster, and you are bound to succeed.” No, it will not be easy, but neither does one find it altogether easy to be a Christian in this very sin sick world.
  • There is an urgent need for dedicated and courageous leadership. If we are to solve the problems ahead and make social justice a reality, this leadership must be four-fold in our various communities. Men and women in every possible community endeavor should busy themselves in an effort to work out our problem on a mutual respectful basis with our fellow men. This is no time for fainthearted men, but rather a time when our true faith in God should emerge and take over our complete self. It is spoke of in one passage of the scripture, that man should not fear men who can only destroy the body but rather God, who can destroy both body and soul.

Speech on WLBT (20 May 1963)[edit]

"May 20, 1963: Medgar Evers Speech on WLBT"

  • Tonight the Negro plantation worker in the Delta knows from his radio and television what happened today all over the world. He knows what Black people are doing and he knows what white people are doing. He can see on the 6:00 o’clock news screen the picture of a 3:00 o’clock bite by a police dog. He knows about the new free nations in Africa and knows that a Congo native can be a locomotive engineer, but in Jackson he cannot even drive a garbage truck.
  • He sees a city over 150,000, of which 40% is Negro, in which there is not a single Negro policeman or policewoman, school crossing guard, fireman, clerk, stenographer, or supervisor employed in any city department or the Mayor’s office in other than menial capacities . . .
  • What then does the Negro want? He wants to get rid of racial segregation in Mississippi life . . . The Negro citizen wants to register and vote without special handicaps imposed on him alone . . . The Negro Mississippian wants more jobs above the menial level in stores where he spends his money.
  • He believes that new industries that have come to Mississippi should employ him above the laboring category. He wants the public schools and colleges desegregated so that his children can receive the best education that Mississippi has to offer.
  • The Negro has been here in America since 1619, a total of 344 years. He is not going anywhere else; this country is his home. . . Let me appeal to the consciences of many silent, responsible citizens of the white community who know that a victory for democracy in Jackson will be a victory for democracy everywhere.

Quotes about Medgar Evers[edit]

  • Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught/They lowered him down as a king/But when the shadowy sun sets on the one/That fired the gun/He’ll see by his grave/On the stone that remains/Carved next to his name/His epitaph plain/Only a pawn in their game
    • Bob Dylan, "Only a pawn in their game" (1964)

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