Charles Evers, brother of slain Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers, dies at 97

RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – The brother of slain Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers passed away on Wednesday, July 22, in Brandon, according to the Rankin County coroner. Charles Evers was 97.

Evers was born on September 11, 1922, in Decatur, Mississippi. Following service in World War II, Charles and Medgar attended Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (later Alcorn State University), where they became involved in civil rights activities.

In 1969, Evers was elected mayor of Fayette, Mississippi. He began a long tenure as manager of WMPR in Jackson in 1987.

The Evers Family released the following statement about his passing.

This morning the world lost another fearless Civil Rights leader. The Honorable James Charles Evers, brother of slain civil rights leader Medgar Wiley Evers, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at the home of his daughter, Charlene Evers-Kreel. One mission in the life of Charles Evers was to advance the work of his beloved brother, who was assassinated on June 12, 1963.

After the assassination, Charles Evers rushed to Jackson to continue fighting for equality and take his brother’s place as field secretary for the Mississippi NAACP.  In 1969, he became Mississippi’s first black mayor since Reconstruction in the biracial town of Fayette, MS.

After serving as mayor, he returned to the airwaves with his radio program, “Let’s Talk,” on WMPR  90.1 “The Voice of the Community” in Jackson, Mississippi.

Our family appreciates the outpouring of affection, love, and support shown over the years. While our family is heartbroken by our loss, we are proud of the legacy he leaves behind. His voice will be missed but will continue to resound over his home state of Mississippi. 

The Honorable James Charles Evers lived to be 97 years old.

The Evers Family

President Trump tweeted about the passing of Evers.

Leaders in Mississippi are remembering the life of Evers:

Charles Evers was an absolute classic. His rich and colorful story makes him unique among our state’s historical figures. His career covered the spectrum from his roguish youth to a respected civil rights leader, mayor, businessman, and radio host. Charles Evers was never afraid to challenge the accepted norms or fly in the face of political correctness. As an elected official he navigated the circuitous route from Freedom Democrat to Independent to Republican, even serving as a Trump elector in 2016. He used his powerful personality and platform to change Mississippi for the better. He was one of my favorites, and I doubt we will ever see another like him.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

Tonight, I rise to honor the life of Mr. Charles Evers, who passed away peacefully in his home earlier today. Charles and his brother, Medgar, dedicated their time on this earth to the advancement of civil rights for all Americans and rigorously pursued justice for all.

Following the tragic murder of his brother, Charles gracefully assumed Medgar’s position as head of the NAACP in Mississippi to continue his efforts to expand civil rights for African Americans in the Magnolia State.

In 1969, he became the first African American mayor elected in Mississippi since Reconstruction, making Mr. Evers a symbol of the civil rights that he and his brother fought to advance. He served as an advisor and mentor to many public officials, from local governments to the President of the United States.

Today, I join our Mississippi family in thankful prayer for his time with us and that he returned to our Heavenly Father having accomplished his goal of creating a better nation for all people. Please join me in a moment of silence as we remember his service to our state and our nation.

Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss.