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June 7, 2013

Civil Rights Hero Medgar Evers Honored 50 Years Later

Watch Honoring Civil Rights Hero Medgar Evers, Warrior for U.S. on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

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In 1963, civil rights activist Medgar Evers was gunned down in front of his family home while his wife and children took cover inside. White supremacist Byron De La Beckwith was eventually convicted of murder, but only after a 30 year legal battle.

Evers was first field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Mississippi. He joined the NAACP in 1954 after working as a traveling insurance salesman and becoming aware of the plight of black Mississippians.

This week, dignitaries gathered at Arlington Cemetery to honor Evers.  Former President Clinton spoke of Evers as a warrior who fought for his country on more than one front. ”The meaning of Medgar Evers’ life was that he came home, and even though he had a gorgeous wife and beautiful kids and an unbelievable life to look forward to, he said, it can’t be that I was a soldier in the American Army and I stood up for freedom, and I can’t vote, and my neighbors can’t vote.”

Ever’s wife, Myrlie Evers-Williams continues to urge Americans to move forward and push for equality.


“I can hear Medgar’s voice saying: ‘I thank all of you for believing in me, but its really not necessary. Just get out there and prove that you believe in me and believe in my country, which is our country.”

Warm Up Questions

1. What do you know about the civil rights movement?

2. What major events occurred during the civil rights movement?

3. Who are some prominent civil rights leaders?

Discussion Questions

1. Why is civil rights still an important topic?

2. How do you think Evers’ death impacted the civil rights movement?

3. Research current topics, such as the Supreme Court’s current Voters Right Act case, that relate to the civil rights movement.

— Compiled by Carrie Waltemeyer for NewsHour Extra

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