Archives du mot-clé Civil Rights activists

Medgar Evers (1925-1963)

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54 years ago, on June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers was was shot to death by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith outside of his home in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1952, Evers joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As a field worker for the NAACP, Evers traveled through his home state encouraging poor African Americans to register to vote and recruiting them into the civil rights movement.Due to his high-profile position with the NAACP, Evers became a target for those who opposed racial equality and desegregation. He and his family were subjected to numerous threats and violent actions over the years, including a firebombing of their house in May 1963. After a funeral in Jackson, he was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. In 1964, the first trial of chief suspect Byron De La Beckwith ended with a deadlock by an all-white jury, sparking numerous protests. When a second all-white jury also failed to reach a decision, De La Beckwith was set free. Three decades later, the state of Mississippi reopened the case under pressure from civil rights leaders and Evers’ family. In February 1994, a racially mixed jury in Jackson found Beckwith guilty of murder. The unrepentant white supremacist, aged 73, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Beckwith died in 2001.

 

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7 things that you may not know about Coretta Scott King (1927-2003)

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1)Coretta Scott King was born on the 27th of April 1927 in Perry County, Alabama. Her parents, Obadiah and Bernice Scott, were farmers who owned land in the county since the American Civil War.

 2)At the age of 10, she had to drop out of school to help pick cotton just so her family would have enough money to put food on the table. Despite these challenges, she would still wind up graduating from Lincoln Normal School in 1945 and earn a scholarship to study music in Boston.

3)She participated in “freedom concerts,” which consisted of poetry recitation, singing, and lectures demonstrating the history of the civil rights movement. The proceeds from the concerts were donated to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

4)On January 30th, 1956 the King family home was bombed when a brick was thrown onto the porch. Coretta and her daughter, Yolanda, were unharmed and when Coretta’s father insisted she leave Montgomery and go back to Atlanta. She refused.

5)When her husband was assassinated, Mrs. King was given thousands of letters and telegrams offering her sympathy and support. One message, however, held much more importance than any other for her. It came from the mother of Lee Harvey Oswald.

6) She kept her husband’s legacy alive through her own activism. After her husband’s death, King founded the artin Luther King Jr Center for nonviolent social change  in Atlanta, Georgia, and served as its president for more than a decade. Coretta worked for years to make her husband’s birthday, January 15th into a holiday. It wasn’t until 1986 that she succeeded in making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a federal holiday, though it always occurs on the 3rd Monday of January.

7)She was against apartheid. She was part of several protests against apartheid in South Africa, and lobbied for the release of Nelson Mandela. She traveled several times to the country to meet with anti-apartheid activists and to support black South Africans affected by state-sanctioned oppression.