Medgar Evers, a World War II veteran who became the Mississippi NAACP’s first field secretary in 1954 was a major part of of the Civil Rights Movement. He led voter registration drives and boycotts in the south; and also aided in desegregating the University of Mississippi. On June 12, 1963, he was assassinated in the driveway of his Jackson, Miss., home by white supremacist and Klansman Byron De La Beckwith.
Years after Evers’ murder, his wife, Myrlie, continued her lat husband’s work, and became the national chairwoman of the NAACP in 1995 and served for the next three years.
According to the Clarion Ledger, the federal government will take over the ranch-style home from Tougaloo College, who has maintained the Evers home since 1993, when the property was donated to the school by the Evers family. The home was designated a national historic landmark in 2016 and is open by appointment for tours.
Medgar Evers served as a mentor for Tougaloo students, who participated in civil rights demonstrations in Jackson. One of his mentees, Minnie White Watson, has served as the curator of the Medgar Evers House Museum since 1997. She told WBUR she’s “pleased” the home has been designated a national monument.
“Medgar was very forceful in what he was doing and what he was saying,” Watson said. “Sure, you were risking your life, but you think about it, when I think about it, if you were not considered quote-unquote free, then it wasn’t your life anyway.
“You were born here in this country, so you had the right to whatever this country had to offer,” she said, describing his philosophy. “So he was saying simply ask for it, and then if they didn’t give it to you, take it.”