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Exhibit Commemorates Civil Rights Icon Medgar Evers on 50th Anniversary of Killing

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 12 Jun 2013 04:53am | comments

Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights icon Medgar Evers.  A new museum exhibit dedicated to his life is now open.

 Medgar Evers was gunned down in his drive way by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith 50 years ago today.

 An exhibit dedicated to his life and death opened this week at the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center in Jackson.

Museum director Pam Junior says the exhibit tries to bring new attention to key moments in Evers' life such as when a black man named Willie Tingle was killed in his home town of Decatur for allegedly whistling at a white woman.

 “Because this shouldn’t happen. It could happen to us. So we don’t want that to happen. So he kept that in his mind. That death, which was terrible for a child to see, that we don’t want this to happen to any of us. So that was a part of him taken with him. His legacy,” says Junior.Junior says Evers’ commitment to equal rights for African-Americans became more deeply engrained when he returned from World War II to Jim Crow era Mississippi.

 Evers went on to become the state's first NAACP field secretary, a position that ultimately cost him his life.

 “The wonderful thing is that he came and he tried to make a difference because he saw that African-Americans needed to have the right to vote. To be able to go into any restaurant in the state of Mississippi. To have the same rights that Whites did. And he worked to the end doing that,” continues Junior.

Eugene Fisher says he delivered Evers newspaper when Evers lived in Mound Bayou.

 Fisher says the museum exhibit is important in remembering the fight for civil rights.

 “Because they have to understand that we didn’t just get our rights to vote on a platter. They need to understand the struggle that we went through. They need to understand how it was at the time here. You couldn’t even drink from the same water fountain,” describes Fisher.

There are events commemorating Evers' life and legacy all day today.

 A statue of Evers will be unveiled at Alcorn State University tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

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