Steven A. Levine,
Coordinator for Educational Programs
Fifty years ago, Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers was assassinated as he left his car in front of his home in Jackson. This horrific act of violence was one of many outrages against human rights and dignity in 1963, including Bull Connor's use of dogs and fire hoses against civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama. Mayor Robert F. Wagner spoke before the NAACP's NYC Department of Welfare branch on June 27, 1963. Remembering the courage of Evers, Wagner reminded his audience that Evers was a martyr because "if he continued to do what he was doing, he would likely be killed -- and he kept right on doing it." He implored his audience to remember that "It was up to us to see -- as he knew it would be -- he did not die in vain" (To read his full speech click here.)
Living in a nation today where poverty, racism, sexism and homophobia still threaten the lives and well being of millions, we must remember Medgar Evers and redouble our own efforts to fight for the ideals for which gave up his life.