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The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow A Century of Segregation
Jim Crow Stories
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Jim Crow Stories

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Charles Evers (1922 - )
Charles Evers Charles Evers, older brother of the civil rights hero and martyr Medgar Evers, has been an important leader in the civil rights struggle in Mississippi. Born in Decatur, Mississippi in 1922, Evers had a strong, devoutly Christian mother and a fearless father, who taught his sons never to be afraid of whites. Evers never forgot his father's advice after witnessing an incident in which his father stood up to a white man and made him back down: "Don't ever forget son. Look a peckerwood [anti-black white man] in the eye and he won't do nothin'."
"We realized that all the hardship we had came from elected officials."
Charles Evers
During World War II, Charles and Medgar both served overseas in the U.S. Army. Charles fell in love with a Filipino woman, but could not marry and live with her in Mississippi because her skin was too light. In the 1940s, when he and his brother returned to Mississippi, they began to organize voter registration drives. They tried to register to vote in the 1946 election campaign but were turned away at the polling station by armed whites.

He and Medgar graduated from Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University, Lorman, Mississippi) in 1950. Settling in Philadelphia, Mississippi, they engaged in various business pursuits while organizing for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Charles Evers had worked a variety of jobs, including cotton picker, dishwasher, bootlegger, and short-order cook. Around 1956, his activities and economic dealings got him in trouble in Philadelphia. He left town and moved to Chicago, Illinois.

Media Feature - Watch the Video When an assassin shot and killed Medgar Evers in 1963, Charles took over his brother's position as state field secretary for the NAACP's Mississippi chapter and led many demonstrations for the rights of blacks. In 1969, Charles Evers was elected mayor of Fayette, Mississippi, the first black to hold elected office in the state since Reconstruction. He served as the city's mayor until 1981 and again from 1985 to 1989. He made an unsuccessful run for governor of Mississippi. Charles Evers was also an informal advisor to a diverse group of politicians, including Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, Senator Robert Kennedy, and Governor George Wallace.

--Richard Wormser

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According to the 1890 Mississippi Constitution, African Americans were not permitted to marry whites.
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