Sunday, February 05, 2006

Blackuary Five-Closing the Book on a Murder

On this day in 1994, Byron De La Beckwith was convicted of the 1963 murder of Medgar Evers. Let's look at the these two men.

First the killer. Lily-white cracker man was a hater of biblical proportions. A member of the Klan, Byron was obviously one of the most stupid individuals ever to walk upright. And that's his story completely.

But, the only way that he was ever convicted is there is a move underfoot in my home state to put all of these crimes behind us and move on.

Now, Medgar Evers (July 2, 1925-June 12, 1963). Medgar was born in Decatur, Mississippi and if you haven't been there, I'm telling you, he grew up hard. He was inducted in the Army in 1943 and fought at the Battle of Normandy. Legend has it that upon returning home, he was turned away from a polling place at gunpoint.

Medgar received a degree in Business Administration from Alcorn State University, the first Black land grant university in the country and it is in the sticks, too. He married his college sweetie and moved to Mound Bayou, Mississippi (again, way back in the cut) and began to sell insurance. And he applied for University of Mississippi Law School, which was segregated at the time. Needless to say, he was denied enrollment because of his race.

Evers' attempt to gain enrollment into Ole Miss became the focus of an NAACP campaign to desegregate Ole Miss. And in December 1954, Mr. Evers became the first field officer for the NAACP in the state and then moved to Jackson (some still claim that Jackson is the country, but that is debatable).

Medgar Evers became instrumental in getting Ole Miss to finally enroll James Meredith to the university in 1962. For those that don't remember or have no historical knowledge of this event, it went kinda badly, but then again, change never comes easy.

And this fight for Meredith's enrollment led to the death of Medgar Evers. He received death threats too numerous to mention and his family lived in fear. But they knew that they were on the right path and nothing could stop them.

Medgar was killed on June 12, 1963 and buried at Arlington National Cemetery on June 19 with full military honors.

On a lighter note, Byron died in prison in 2001 and his soul burns eternally in Hell without being consumed.