This Day in History

June 12, 1963: Medgar Evers Murdered in Mississippi

Time Periods: 1961
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity

Medgar Evers, date unknown. Source: Mississippi Department of Archives and History

On June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers was murdered by a white supremacist in the driveway outside his home in Jackson, Mississippi.

Evers was inducted into the United States Army in 1942. By the end of the war, Evers was among a generation of Black veterans committed “to return [home] fighting” for change.

The initial “fight” for Evers was to register to vote. In the summer of 1946, along with his brother, Charles, and several other Black veterans, Evers registered to vote at the Decatur city hall. But on Election Day, the veterans were prevented by racist whites from casting their ballots.

In 1952, he joined the NAACP. As a field worker for the NAACP, Evers traveled through his home state encouraging African Americans to register to vote.

The experience only deepened Evers’s conviction that the status quo in Mississippi had to change. By 1954, Evers began an 8-year career as the Mississippi state field secretary for the NAACP, including the creation of NAACP youth councils.

He investigated nine racial murders and countless numbers of alleged maltreatment cases involving Black victims during the period. His organizing and murder investigations doubled the number of NAACP members who boycotted and agitated for justice in Mississippi. He was instrumental in getting witnesses and evidence for the Emmett Till murder case and others, which brought national attention to the terrorism used against African Americans.

Description above from MDAH profile Medgar Evers and the Origin of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi by Dernoral Davis. Learn more about Medgar Evers at SNCC Digital Gateway and from the resources listed below.