Medgar Evers by Michael Vinson Williams
Mississippi Martyr

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Civil rights activist Medgar Wiley Evers was well aware of the dangers he would face when he challenged the status quo in Mississippi in the 1950s and '60s, a place and time known for the brutal murders of Emmett Till, Reverend George Lee, Lamar Smith, and others. Nonetheless, Evers consistently investigated the rapes, murders, beatings, and lynching's of black Mississippians and reported the horrid incidents to a national audience, all the while organizing economic boycotts, sit-ins, and street protests in Jackson as the NAACP's first full-time Mississippi field secretary. He organized and participated in voting drives and nonviolent direct-action protests, joined lawsuits to overturn state-supported school segregation, and devoted himself to a career that cost him his life. This biography of a lesser-known but seminal civil rights leader draws on personal interviews from Myrlie Evers-Williams (Evers's widow), his two remaining siblings, friends, grade-school-to-college schoolmates, and fellow activists to elucidate Evers as an individual, leader, husband, brother, and father. Extensive archival work in the Evers Papers, the NAACP Papers, oral history collections, FBI files, Citizen Council collections, and the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Papers, to list a few, provides a detailed account of Evers's NAACP work and a clearer understanding of the racist environment that ultimately led to his murder. Selfless dedication marked the life of Medgar Evers, and while this remains his story, it is also a testament to the important role that grassroots activism played in exacting social change during some of America's most turbulent and violent times.

About Michael Vinson Williams

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Michael Vinson Williams is assistant professor of history and African American studies at Mississippi State University.
Published November 1, 2011 by University of Arkansas Press. 453 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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In an era filled with charismatic leaders, Evers (1925–1963) came to national attention primarily as the victim of "the first political assassination of a major leader of the modern Black Freedom Movement."

Apr 25 2005 | Read Full Review of Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr

Publishers Weekly

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Williams, a professor of history and African American Studies at Mississippi State University, offers a scrupulously researched biography of the civil rights pioneer Medgar Evers (1925–1963), who heroically reported on the lynchings, rapes, and murders of black Mississippians and organized civi...

Sep 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr

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