Women and Adversity: Myrlie Evers Remembers
It has taken the massacre in Charleston to awaken people, especially whites, to the facts of continued racism in America.
Myrlie Evers lived it.
On June 15, 1963, she witnessed her husband, Medgar Evers, being shot down at their home in Jackson, Mississippi. The couple’s three children also saw their father killed. An emotionally charged photo of Ms. Evers comforting son Darrell at the funeral is at http://time.com/3682880/behind-the-picture-medgar-evers-funeral-june-1963.
Ms. Evers, a respected author, NAACP leader and civil rights activist, later married civil rights and union activist Walter Williams, but she continued to work toward finding justice for her husband. It took over 30 years, but in 1994 the murderer was found guilty.
More than 50 years have passed since her husband died, but Ms. Evers’ pain was still obvious when she appeared on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show June 23.
“Change can happen at any time at any place,” she said, yet she added, “I am deeply afraid that we are still as a country mired in prejudice and racism.”
It’s painful to relive what happened to her family, and she isn’t satisfied with the progress toward eliminating racism. “I was angry, hurt, revengeful,” she said about her husband’s murder. “We saw Medgar Evers shot down at our doorstep. Three little children watching their father die.” She adds, “I have found that I still have bitterness. I’m not proud of it, but it’s a fact.” And, “I have to say to myself, ‘Back off from the anger and continue to work for peace and understanding.’”
She established the Medgar Evers Institute in Jackson, Mississippi, to keep her husband’s accomplishments alive and honor his legacy. Information is at www.eversinstitute.org.
Her biography is available at www.biography.com/people/myrlie-evers-williams-205624
You can see the interview with Rachel Maddow at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gj6YQ-A-SE