Medgar Evers: Family and Hobbies

On May 8, 2013, in Archives, by Dorian Randall
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The life of Medgar Evers is synonymous with the civil rights struggle and his strong leadership in the movement. This series, written by Dorian Randall, will explore his life, work, and legacy using related collections at MDAH.

Medgar and Myrlie Evers smiling on a couch.

Medgar and Myrlie Evers smiling on a couch. Accession number: Z.2331.000.S (Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasley Papers)

 

Evers with his children, Darrell Kenyatta and Reena.

Evers with his children, Darrell Kenyatta and Reena. Accession number: Z.2231.4.008.S (Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasley Papers)

Medgar Evers was dedicated to improving the quality of life of impoverished and disenfranchised African Americans in Mississippi. His work as an insurance salesman with Magnolia Mutual in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, not only prepared him for his work as a field secretary for the NAACP, it gave him a heightened sense of commitment to family. In his book Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr, Dr. Michael V. Williams discusses the degradation Evers saw in the Delta and how it helped him develop a “personal awareness of his familial responsibilities and obligations.”1 This dedication was especially strong after the birth of his first child, Darrell Kenyatta, for whom he was an example of “loving roughness,” while being a source of tenderness for daughter Reena.2

Evers had always worked long hours, but his commitments gradually increased in 1962­–63 with James Meredith’s integration of Ole Miss and youth protests in Jackson, Mississippi. His family urged him to rest. In one instance their youngest son, James Van Dyke, broke into song to encourage Evers to take time off. Evers hugged him and said, “That’s Daddy’s boy…That’s all I needed to make me get right up and go out and do a good job today.” 3 Myrlie Evers admired her husband’s diligence and love for Mississippi, but knowing that he needed to relax, she encouraged him to go hunting and fishing:

“He loved his state with hope and only rarely with despair. It was his hope that sustained him. It never left him. Despair came infrequently, and a day of hunting or fishing dispelled it. The love remained.”4

2004.21.1ab

Hunting knife and scabbard. Accession number: 2004.21.1ab (Museum Division Collection)

This artifact, a hunting and fishing knife belonged to Medgar Evers and was found in his desk drawer in the NAACP office after his assassination. His initials, “MWE,” are carved into the leather scabbard. This knife is currently on display in the exhibit “This is Home”: Medgar Evers, Mississippi, and the Movement in the William F. Winter Archives and History Building.


1 Michael V. Williams, Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr (Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 2011), 61.

2 Myrlie Evers and William Peters For Us the Living (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996), 117.

3 Evers, For Us the Living, 278.

4 Evers, For Us the Living, 3.

 

 

Medgar Evers: A Legacy of Hope

On April 30, 2013, in Archives, Film, by Dorian Randall
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The life of Medgar Evers is synonymous with the civil rights struggle and his strong leadership in the movement. This series, written by Dorian Randall, will explore his life, work, and legacy using related collections at MDAH.

Description: This WLBT newsfilm clip depicts Evers at an unknown location, circa 1959.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History will host a series of events and exhibits to commemorate the legacy of Medgar Evers. As part of the History as Lunch Series at the Old Capitol Museum, Myrlie Evers,widow of Medgar Evers, and Mississippi State University professor Michael V. Williams will speak about Evers’ life and work. The Eudora Welty House will also feature an exhibit examining the relationship between Evers’ assassination and Welty’s writing.

Medgar Wiley Evers was one of the strongest voices in the Civil Rights Movement. Evers was born June 2, 1925, in Decatur, Mississippi, to a large family. After serving overseas in World War II, he was honorably discharged as a sergeant of the U.S. Army. Evers completed high school at Alcorn in 1946 and started college in 1948 where he met his future wife Myrlie Beasely in 1950 and also built leadership skills that he would later use as the first field secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for Mississippi. His work with the NAACP included investigating discrimination and racial violence of all kinds against African Americans across the state. After many years of service working for the equality for all Americans, Evers was mortally wounded shortly after arriving home on June 12, 1963.

For more information about the exhibits and events, visit: http://mdah.state.ms.us/senseofplace/2013/04/11/life-of-medgar-evers-commemorated/

 

Maps: Columbus and Jackson

On March 20, 2013, in Digital Archives, Maps, by Amanda
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Columbus. Call Number: MA/2003.0079(c) MDAH

Columbus. Call Number: MA/2003.0079(c) MDAH

Explore these new additions to our digitized holdings:

Columbus. Call Number: MA/2003.0079 (c) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Jackson, Mississippi, by blocks, 1960. Call Number: MA/2003.0127 (c) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

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Recently Digitized Maps

On November 21, 2012, in Digital Archives, Maps, by Amanda
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Map of DeSoto County, 1904. Call Number: MA/2003.0034(c) MDAH Collection

Map of DeSoto County, 1904. Call Number: MA/2003.0034(c) MDAH Collection

These maps were recently digitized and made available online through the MDAH catalog. Click the map title to view the map or click “Link to catalog” to view its catalog record.

Department of Education Calhoun County, May 19, 1928. Call Number: MA/2003.0003(c) MDAH. Link to catalog record.

Map of Desoto County, Mississippi, 1904. Call Number: MA/2003.0034(c) MDAH. Link to catalog record.

Hinds County, Mississippi, 1915. Call Number: MA/2003.0058(c) MDAH. Link to catalog.

Map of Jackson, Mississippi, 1929? Call Number: MA/2003.0111(b) MDAH. Link to catalog

Columbus Separate School District, 1953. Call Number: MA/2003.0283(d) MDAH. Link to catalog.

Gulfport Harbor, Miss. survey to determine the cost and advisability of further improvement, 1926. Call Number: MA/2002.0247(b) MDAH. Link to catalog.

The Mobile and Ohio River Railroad grant in the states of Mississippi and Alabama, c.1893. Call Number: MA/2002.0261(c) MDAH. Link to catalog.

 

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