On this day in 1963, World War II veteran and Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers was assassinated in Jackson, Mississippi by a white supremacist. He was buried on June 19 in Arlington National Cemetery, where he received full military honors before a crowd of more than 3,000.
Medgar Wiley Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963) was an American civil rights activist in Mississippi, the state's field secretary for the NAACP, and a World War II veteran who had served in the United States Army. He worked to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi, end the segregation of public facilities, and expand opportunities for African Americans, which included the enforcement of voting rights.
Evers served in the U.S. Army during World War II from 1943 to 1945. He was sent to the European Theater where he fought in the Battle of Normandy in June 1944. After the end of the war, Evers was honorably discharged as a sergeant.
A college graduate, Evers became active in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. Following the 1954 ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, Evers challenged the segregation of the state-supported public University of Mississippi, applying to law school there. He also worked for voting rights, economic opportunity, access to public facilities, and other changes in the segregated society. Evers was awarded the 1963 NAACP Spingarn Medal.
As a veteran, Evers was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
His murder and the resulting trials inspired civil rights protests; his life and these events inspired numerous works of art, music, and film.
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