“Freedom has never been free…I love my children and I love my wife with all my heart. And I would die, die gladly, if that would make a better life for them.” -Medgar Evers, June 7th, 1963.
Fifty years ago this Wednesday, the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Miley Evers galvanized a nation against racism and discrimination. And while his death may have been the catalyst, the strength of that reaction came from his life. Often times historians and pundits have mused on how the scars of racism are still ever present decades after the Civil Rights Movement. But for the children of Medgar Evers, their hope is to spread the message about his life. For the 50th anniversary of Evers’ passing, the Medgar & Myrlie Evers Institute are celebrating with the theme, “Honor his life. Live his legacy.”
Evers was a man whose fight for freedom took him from the battlefields of World War II to the streets of Mississippi where he became the state’s most prominent civil rights activist. He rose through the ranks of the NAACP and fought hate crimes through grassroots activism and judicial means. He had been a major force for change in America and inspired President John F. Kennedy to push Congress for the passage of both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.