June 19th, 1963
Medgar Evers, Assassinated NAACP Field Secretary, Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Medgar Wiley Evers was born in Decatur, Mississippi, in 1925 and grew up during the height of the Jim Crow era. He served in the United States Army during World War II, and his time deployed overseas in France and England highlighted the stark racial inequalities blacks endured in the South. After returning from the war, Mr. Evers enrolled at Mississippi's Alcorn College and became increasingly involved in the growing civil rights movement. He eventually joined the local NAACP and, in 1954, attempted to desegregate the University of Mississippi Law School.
The NAACP National Office later made Mr. Evers the first field secretary of the organization's Mississippi chapter. He worked tirelessly to promote racial equality and became a highly visible civil rights leaders in Mississippi, which was one of the most violent and hostile environments for racial equality work at the time.
On June 11, 1963, the same evening President John F. Kennedy gave a national speech outlining federal civil rights legislation he planned to submit to Congress, Medgar Evers was shot and killed outside of his home while his wife and children were inside. He was thirty-seven years old. Eight days later, on June 19, Mr. Evers was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors at a funeral attended by more than 3000 people. Byron De La Beckwith, a white supremacist, was arrested and charged with the murder days later, but was not convicted until February 1994.