Medgar Evers was born in 1925 in Decatur, Mississippi. He served with the U.S. Army and World War II. When he returned home, enrolled at Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College, where he earned a degree in business administration.
He married his wife, Myrlie, in 1951, and they had three children.
In 1954, Medgar became the first field secretary for the NAACP in Mississippi. His focus was on organizing voter registration drives, fighting against segregation and advocating for the rights of African Americans.
Medgar’s death, which shocked the nation, happened after he arrived at home after a meeting with the NAACP on June 12, 1963.
As he approached his home, a bullet struck Medgar in the back. He collapsed outside where Myrlie and their three children found him. Medgar died from his injuries. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
The FBI connected Medgar’s assassination to Byron De La Beckwith, but his family wouldn’t receive justice until the early 1990s.
Myrlie, who was also a civil rights organizer, asked local prosecutors to reopen the case and see if other evidence could be found.
After an investigation, Beckwith was indicted and later found guilty for Medgar’s death. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Since Medgar’s death, his family has continued to carry his torch. They’ve touted civil rights, voter registration and equality.