It's Been A Long Journey

October 18, 2008
By Darean Talmadge, Hampstead, MD

What are the civil rights? How did they effect people? Both are very interesting questions with some very simple answers. Civil rights are the rights that a nation’s inhabitants enjoy by law, and made to ensure that everyone be treated equal. During the Civil Rights Movement, there was the act of 1964. This act prohibited discrimination against color, race, religion, origin, and gender, which relieved many people. The question is, did it actually have any effect? Medgar Evers became very important to the Civil Rights Movement when he was killed; this has had a significant impact on everyone as it showed people just how far people would go to be dominant over African Americans and other races.

Medgar Evers knew many people and did many things in his lifetime. Medgar Wiley Evers was born on July 2,1925 in Decatur, Mississippi and had an older brother named Charles. Later in life, Medgar married Myrlie Beasley, now Myrlie Evers-Williams. They had 3 children together in the years that they were married. Medgar Evers’s life ended on June 12, 1963 at 12:40 A.M., when he was shot in his driveway walking into his home. When Myrlie remembers the night, she says, “I bolted up off the bed and ran to the front door and there was Medgar on the ground. I screamed and the children ran out and cried, ‘Daddy Daddy Please get up, Daddy ’ ” His death sparked some people’s interest in the civil rights.

Medgar Evers was a civil rights leader that worked strong and hard for what he believed in, this inspired many people. Evers became an activist because when he was 28 years old, he lost a family friend to a lynch mob. One thing he did as a leader was go around recruiting people to register to vote. That was one of his many jobs of the NAACP and he also organized boycotts. In 1998, Evers’s death inspired his widow to set up the Medgar Evers Institute for civil rights. Evers led an inspirational life, one that was also interesting.

The juries in 1964 were very unjust but, people stayed in there, despite the criticism they had to face. In 1964, Evers’s killer, Byron De La Beckwith, was tried twice. They had found Beckwith’s fingerprints on the rifle that had killed Evers. The jury consisted of all white people and they claimed to have not been able to render a verdict both times. Again, Beckwith was tried in 1994, 30 years later, against a jury of 8 African Americans and 4 white people. Beckwith was found guilty. In 2001, while in jail, Beckwith died of heart problems. Medgar Evers became one of the best known civil rights leaders. People today still remember Evers as a great hero. Medgar Evers lived a short life but had accomplished many things in his lifetime.

Without Medgar Evers, races wouldn’t be united and African Americans couldn’t have the rights and respect that they deserve and get today. In the 38 years that Evers lived, he was loved by many people. Evers was an inspirational person that changed many people’s lives. Medgar Evers dealt with hard-core racism his whole life, but he finally got the justice that he deserved. Medgar Evers fought for his rights as well as thousands of other people’s rights. He died trying to help everyone. Without him, the world wouldn’t and couldn’t be the same as it is today!

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