On June 12, 1963, civil rights leader Medgar Evers is shot to death in the driveway outside his home in Jackson, Mississippi by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith.
During World War II, Evers volunteered for the U.S. Army and participated in the Normandy invasion. In 1952, he joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As a field worker for the NAACP, Evers traveled through his home state encouraging poor African Americans to register to vote and recruiting them into the civil rights movement. He was instrumental in getting witnesses and evidence for the Emmitt Till murder case, which brought national attention to the plight of African Americans in the South. After Evers funeral in Jackson, he was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. President John F. Kennedy and many other leaders publicly condemned the killing. In 1964, the first trial of chief suspect Byron De La Beckwith ended with a deadlock by an all-white jury, sparking numerous protests. When a second all-white jury also failed to reach a decision, De La Beckwith was set free. Three decades later, the state of Mississippi reopened the case under pressure from civil rights leaders and Evers' family. In February 1994, a racially mixed jury in Jackson found Beckwith guilty of murder. The unrepentant white supremacist, aged 73, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Murder & Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California 1849-1949. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following link: