Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for millions of Americans is an iconic portrayal when discussing civil rights and American democracy. His determination to change segregation through creative and savvy ways to reach the public led to his stardom. However, there were many others who helped during the civil rights era who do not get nearly as much praise as MLK Jr. Medgar Evers, James Meredith, A Philip Randolph, Jesse Jackson are a few gentlemen that rarely received the magnitude of media focus, popularity or scrutiny that the most charismatic civil rights leaders attracted. Instead they played different positions either, making telephone calls, visiting numerous homes, organizing community meetings and rallies. They tried building a large amount of support for their cause at the lower level.
In most standard textbooks of African American history, Medgar Evers is either barely mentioned or completely ignored (Evers-Williams, Marable, A hero’s life and legacy revealed through his writings, letters, and speeches. Basic Civitas, 2005). Those who ignore or are denied full opportunity to learn history are subject to repeat it. Medgar Evers was taught early on as a child to never disregard the history of being African American and to embrace his heritage. He admired the works of his other civil rights companions and made it his duty to educate blacks on voter registration and discrimination. Medgar Evers objective was to raise awareness and impact the lives of blacks that were kept out of white schools, kept from voting ballots, and kept from their independence. The injustice of African Americans had become a routine of cruelty in Mississippi and Medgar Evers sought a way to educate blacks to overcome their discrimination. Medgar Evers intent on the spotlight and popularity never once intrigued him so therefore his efforts go unnoticed but his legacy will always be remembered in civil equality.
Medgar Wiley Evers was born on July 2, 1925, in Decatur, Mississippi, the child of James and Jesse Evers. James was employed as stacker at a Decatur sawmill; his wife, Jesse, took in laundry and ironing for local white families (Evers-Williams, Marable, 30). Both parents preached to their children about the importance of self-reliance, pride, and self-respect, values directly contradicting the “customary” values that African Americans were expected to assume (Evers-Williams, Marable, 30). As a Child Medgar was told how, his great-grandfather had killed two white men in a dispute an had managed to avoid white retaliation by escaping from town (Evers-Williams, Marable, 30) Myrlie Evers-Williams now relates James Evers would constantly preach to his children: “My family will be able to walk on the sidewalk. Whites will treat them with dignity. They will be able to register to vote.”
There was a great emphasize on never being apologetic or ashamed of being black. No matter the circumstance they should never deny their African American heritage and culture. These...