Thursday, June 12, 2008

Remembering Medgar...July 2, 1925-June 12, 1963...

Tha Artstorian Reports…A W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special

"You can kill a man but
you can't kill an idea."

-Medgar Evers, June 7, 1963



When we got to the courthouse, the clerk said he wanted to talk with us. When we got into his office, some 15 or 20 armed white men surged in behind us, men I had grown up with, had played with. We split up and went home. Around town, Negroes said we had been whipped, beaten up and run out of town. Well, in a way we were whipped, I guess, but I made up my mind then that it would not be like that again—at least not for me. I was committed, in a way, to change things.
---Medgar Evers recalling trying to register to vote after coming home from World War 2


Medgar Wiley Evers was a man dedicated to seeing justice realized not only for himself and his immediate family, but for his many brothers and sisters suffering under the stifling oppression of American Apartheid also known as Jim Crow Rule…For 12 years the WW II vet waged a righteous war with Jim Crow…Performing Death Defying stunts on the civil rights movement frontlines as if he was Houdini or Evil Kneivel…

“I'm looking to be shot any time I step out of my car . . . If I die, it will be in a good cause. I've been fighting for America just as much as the soldiers in Vietnam.”
---Medgar Evers

Then on June 12, 1963, Medgar’s life journey of 37 years was ended with a sniper bullet in the back, the violent ending playing out before his family in the driveway of their home in their integrated Jackson, Ms neighborhood…

For 12 years this proud WW2 Veteran , Alcorn State University Graduate, devoted husband and loving father of three risked his life on Mississippi back roads, plantations and towns trying to bring forth justice, redemption, and civility to his home state, the same home state of the late Confederate President Jefferson Davis and one of the last hold outs of the Old Guard of the Antebellum South…

Being the NAACP Field Secretary it was his job being in the field to seek out the truth which was used to give voice to the voiceless and to give power to the powerless…It was Medgar’s responsibility to investigate the suspicious deaths of Black men, women, and children in Mississippi…What is amazing is that Medgar did much of this in a vacuum, with no support barely from the NAACP main office in Baltimore…For all intents and purposes, he was the NAACP of Mississippi…

It was Medgar, working with the unsung legendary Black leaders Dr. T.R.M. Howard, Amzie Moore and Aaron Henry, who made sure Emmett Till’s great uncle, Moses Wright, was able to testify in court about the kidnapping and the horrific murder of his grand nephew…Moses Wright when asked were the perpetrators in court room that committed the horrendous acts, as if he was taking a cue from a Hollywood director in a John Grisham themed movie, stood up and pointed his long bony finger to the guilty party and calmly stated "thar they be"…This was unheard of in this part of the country and surely meant death for Moses Wright and his loved ones…It was Medgar who helped Wright and his family to escape the brutal White Mob Vigilante Justice of the Mississippi Delta into the safe haven of Sweet Home Chicago,Il…

It was Medgar who made sure that James Meredith had the support and resources needed to become the first Black to be enrolled at the University of Mississippi a.k.a. Ole Miss Home of the Rebels (Medgar Evers tried in 1954 to get into the law school himself to no avail)…It was Medgar who heroically stood up and spoke out against the wrongful imprisonment and inhumane treatment of the soon to be martyred Clyde Kennard, another unsung hero in the American Civil Rights Movement just a few years before his own martyrdom…

Before Freedom Summer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party it was Medgar Evers along with his brother Charles, the Martyred Rev. George Lee, Dr. T.R.M. Howard and others responsible for organizing the Black vote and economic boycotts of the 1950s and early 1960s through their organization, the The Regional Council of Negro Leadership

Although Medgar never had the press or the following of a Dr. King or a Malcolm X or had their mastery of African American oratory which of course is a hallmark and mainstay in the Black Leadership Vernacular, he nevertheless represented a powerful quiet dignity and understated reserve that many people envied, admired and tried to emulate…He was a man of action more so than words, but when he did speak people knew to listen for such was the value of his words, thoughts, action and overall character…




“Freedom has never been free ... I love my children and I love my wife with all my heart. And I would die, gladly, if that would make a better life for them.”
---Medgar Evers, June 7, 1963

Medgar's family saying goodbye...


From talking to people who knew him, it seems he was a man possessed with the exorcism of the evils of the Magnolia State…He was determined to liberate his home state for his children and for generations not yet even born…He prophetically knew that his time wasn’t long for this world…

The people closest to him, especially his wife sensed that as well…She said that they seldom argued without making up…They did not want their potential last time to be a bad moment and memory…They always told each other ‘I love you’ even after a very heated argument (something we should all practice)…

"No soldier in this field has fought more courageously, more heroically than Medgar Evers."
---Mickey Levine, past chairman of the American Veterans' Committee at Medgar Evers’ funeral services in Arlington National Cemetery



Medgar Evers wasn’t committed to the nonviolence philosophy like MLK, he believed in self-defense like Malcolm X and Robert Williams…As a matter of record Medgar kept guns in his house and in the trunk of his car…He and his wife used to joke about how would he reach his guns if he was in danger because the guns would safely be locked in the trunk of his car…

Being a WW2 Veteran of the Normandy Invasion (D Day), he knew that he was at war and he knew it was a civil war at that…Medgar knew the enemy very well whether on the beaches of Normandy or the beaches of Biloxi…He knew that you should never underestimate the cunning, devilment and desperation of your opponent especially when they were losing ground against the insurgent…

Medgar Evers was a true change agent in an archaic and dying world which hated it as well as him…Medgar also knew well that the enemy will sometimes use his own against him…When he died his wife, Myrlie, said she was resentful of many in Jackson's Black community who weren’t fond of his civil rights activities…Many Blacks saw him as a troublemaker and rebel rouser who put their jobs and way of life in trouble with the White Power structure…To quote the great Harriet Tubman, “If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I could have freed thousands more."

But then she recalled that Medgar reminded her to forgive them because he said,"When you hate, the only one that suffers is you because most of the people you hate don't know
it and the rest don't care."…He also reminded her that the war being waged will benefit the grateful as well as the ungrateful because that’s the nature of progress…All it takes is a committed few to create change for all…


American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., foreground, attended the 1963 funeral procession of Medgar Evers, a civil rights organizer murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. In the face of often violent opposition, King challenged his supporters to maintain a policy of peaceful resistance to injustice.

Medgar’s funeral was a state funeral for Black America…He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with honor befitting a head of state and rightfully so…He was a brave moral soldier who fought and died in a righteous war…


“Our only hope is to control the vote.”“If we don't like what the Republicans do, we need to get in there and change it. . .”
---Medgar Evers

And 45 years later we now see that Medgar’s seeds has bore good fruit and blood wasn’t spilt in vain, but in an act of divine deliverance…In 1969, Evers’ brother , the colorful Charles Evers, became the first Black mayor in Mississippi history…Mississippi now has the highest number of elected Black officials than any state in the union…Also in a state 45 years ago that wouldn’t let Black folks register to vote let alone live to tell about it, a huge and record number Black voter turnout helped to secure the U.S. Presidential nomination of Barack Hussein Obama, the potential first African American President in history…


A Seedling In A Forest Of Giant Sequoias:
The Great Myrlie Evers-Williams (Widow Of The Great Medgar Evers) And Legendary Businessman & Founder Of Black Enterprise Magazine Earl Graves Are Fans Of The Art Of R2C2H2 Tha Artivist

This past April in Memphis, Ms. Myrlie Evers-Williams was in town observing the 40th Anniversary passing of one of her husband’s friends, MLK, as well to receive an award from Al Sharpton’s National Action Network for her own amazing work in civil rights and to honor the legacy of her husband…

Yours truly got a chance to personally thank her for the sacrifices made by her husband, herself and the rest of her family…It was a highlight of my life to meet this beautiful, gracious and humble woman…I gave her an art print of mine entitled “The Sharecropper And His Children”…She was very receptive and enjoyed the gift very much…

I told her the pic reminded me of her husband because he did the work of the social sharecropper…He tilled the land for others so that they may reap the benefits of a bountiful harvest…He allowed me and so many others advantages we wouldn’t have had…Her eyes lit up with appreciation and she thanked me once again…

Medgar the father of three, became the father of us all when he made his ultimate sacrifice…

So let us remember the sacrifices made and the prices paid by all in the struggle…

Let us honor the memory and legacy of our ancestors and freedom fighters by exercising our right to vote…

If you think your vote never counted, then you must think that Medgar never mattered…

For more about Medgar Evers check out the following links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medgar_Evers


W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special~Eyewitness To The Crucifixion: The Last Days Of MLK:

It Was All A Dream: Tigers' Connection To 68...

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special: February 18, 2007~"We Shall Overcome"-The Henry Hampton Collection (Creator of the Award Winning Eyes On The Prize Documentary) :

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Once again the Artivist has written another classic article about a fallen soldier. Thank you Ronnie for keeping our history alive!! Kimla Hill