JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Flonzie Brown Wright, an author and civil rights activist, never knew Medgar Evers.
“But when he was assassinated, June 12, 1963, my whole life changed,” said Wright. “What I could not understand was how was it that a man could be gunned down in his driveway in the presence of his wife and children?”
She was 20-years-old and working at a restaurant in Biloxi frequented by Black layers R. Jess Brown, Carsie Hall and Jack Young, Sr.
“I would serve them, and I would hear them talk about who they had gotten out of jail, who had been, and I don’t know what they are talking about, but I would listen every day to get a good history lesson, who had gotten out of jail, who was missing, because they were in the process of integrating the beaches in Biloxi,” she explained.
It was during this time that Wright realized something that would eventually change her life.
“When I began to learn the importance of voter registration, it lit a fire in me. That has not gone out yet. It is not going out.”
Wright moved back home to Madison County and began working with Medgar Evers’ brother, Charles Evers, who reopened the Canton branch of the NAACP. Wright was hired to run the office.
Then, she took it one step further.
“I was elected as the first African American female pollster pre-reconstruction in a biracial town. I had the power to then register people because I was on the election commission in Madison County, and I had the power to register people, to schedule training days to train our people about this 21-item questionnaire, to train our people how to respond to those questions,” she said.
Wright will tell you she did not choose civil rights as a vocation.
“And I’m now almost 81-years-old. I have been doing this for 60 years, and I’m still moving. But now this was nothing that I chose to do, would not have done it, but would not have chosen anything else because I just wanted to help people.”
On the 60th anniversary of Medgar Evers’ death, Wright said, “I think of him, and I just wish that I had known him.”