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Lillie Taylor          Taylor 1ELA 4th HourMrs. HaibonFebruary 12, 2018Medgar Evers”Violence is not the way.” (https://www.myhero.com/Evers_NW) This is what Medgar Evers, one of the most influential leaders of the civil rights era once said. He was a civil rights leader and activist who believed that non-violence would solve the issue of racial segregation. His ability to use non-violence, his leadership skills and determination would help solve the racial segregation issues of what was then the past, for a better tomorrow.Medgar Wiley Evers was born on July 2, 1925, in Decatur, Mississippi. His parents were James and Jesse Evers. He had five siblings; Charles, Ruth, Elizabeth, Eva, and Gene. His family lived and worked on a small farm. He lived in Decatur until he left high school at age seventeen and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943. He eventually rose the rank of sergeant. He served in both Germany and France and participated in the massive Normandy Invasion. He received honorable discharge in 1946 and returned to Decatur. Later on, Evers enrolled at Alcorn College (now known as Alcorn State University) in Lorman, Mississippi. Since he did not graduate high school, he took both high school and college classes at Alcorn. The school offered both at the time. He pursued a degree in business administration. Evers worked very hard to pass all of his classes. While doing this, he took part in many extracurricular activities such as debate, football, track and field and business club. He was Taylor 2also voted president of his junior class and vice-president of student forum. He was the editor of the Alcorn College yearbook and the Alcorn Herald, the student newspaper. Evers courted Myrlie Beasley, an education major from Vicksburg, Mississippi during his years at Alcorn. The couple got married on December 24, 1951. After graduation, the couple moved to an all-black town, Mound Bayou, Mississippi. They had four children; James, Darrell and Reena. He worked as an insurance agent at the Magnolia Mutual Insurance Company. Evers was deeply inspired by his boss and owner of the company, Dr. T.R.M Howard. Dr. Howard helped create new chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). This is what inspired Evers to take part as a Civil Rights activist. Evers decided to apply to the University of Mississippi (commonly known as Ole Miss) Law School in February 1954. Sadly, he was rejected. He volunteered to help the NAACP file a lawsuit against the university. Thurgood Marshall, who later became the nation’s first African-American supreme court justice, served as the attorney for the case. Although Evers did not get accepted to law school, he started working more and more with the NAACP. Later on, in May 1954, the famous Brown vs. Board of Education case put an end to school segregation.During that year, Evers became the first field secretary for the NAACP in Mississippi. He moved his family to Jackson. He traveled around the state frequently, recruiting new members and organizing voter-registration efforts. He helped lead demonstrations and boycotts of white companies that practiced discrimination. While unknown in most other states, he was one of Mississippi’s most important civil rights leaders. He fought many different types of racial injustices. One of them being how legal systems handle crimes involving African-Americans. He brought a Taylor 3new investigation to court for the murdered case of Emmett Till, who was a 14-year old boy who was murdered for talking to a white woman. All of Evers’ efforts made him a target for those who opposed to his integration beliefs. Both he and his family received numerous threats. His house was even firebombed in May of 1963. On June 12, 1963, at 12:40 a.m., Evers was shot in the driveway of his home in Jackson. He had come back from a late night church meeting, and, his arms were filled with t-shirts that said “Jim Crow Must Go”. Myrlie had heard the gunshot and came to the back door with the children right behind her. Byron De La Beckwith, who was the founder of the White Citizens Council,  was the man who murdered him. Because of Evers’ service in the military, he was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The NAACP even awarded him the 1963 Spingarn Medal, an award for tremendous contribution to the African-American community. Immediately following Evers death, the NAACP appointed Medgar’s brother, Charles to fill his position. He became a prominent political figure in the state of Mississippi. He was elected as mayor of Fayette, Mississippi and became the first African-American mayor of a racially integrated town since the Reconstruction era. Wanting to continue her late husband’s legacy, his widow Myrlie founded the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute in Jackson, Mississippi.  Myrlie remarried in 1976 to Walter Williams. She was named chair woman of the NAACP board of directors. Taylor 4 Today, we still face the challenges of segregation; whether it be race or gender, nationality or religion, we still look back at those who laid down their lives to make the world a better place. And, as we still see these issues, we need more people like Medgar Evers. People that will fight for our rights and make an impact. May the spirit of Medgar Evers live on and inspire every boy and girl and man and woman to make the world a better place. Taylor 5Work Cited:https://www.myhero.com/Evers_NW

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