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Civil Rights in the ‘60s: Justice for Medgar Evers

The tumultuous 1960s were a pivotal time in our nation’s march toward equal rights for all Americans. This is the first in a series of stories over the next few years about landmark civil rights investigations five decades ago.

Jun 11, 2013 03:00 PM

Civil Rights in the ‘60s: Justice for Medgar Evers


It was about half past midnight on June 12, 1963—50 years ago tomorrow—in a suburban neighborhood of Jackson, Mississippi. A 37-year-old civil rights activist named Medgar Evers had just come home after a meeting of the NAACP. As he began to walk toward his house, a shot was fired from across the street, striking Evers in the back and killing him.

A suspect, known white supremacist and segregationist Byron De La Beckwith, was quickly identified and arrested. But even following two trials with strong evidence to convict, the all-white juries could not reach a verdict. Beckwith went free. By the early 1990s, however, the time was ripe to revisit the case—and this time, justice was done.

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The tumultuous 1960s were a pivotal time in our nation’s march toward equal rights for all Americans. This is the first in a series of stories over the next few years about landmark civil rights investigations five decades ago.