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Biographies and Bibliography
Medgar Evers was a prominent Southern civil rights activist, who was very involved with the RCNL (Regional Council of Negro Leadership) and the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). He was shot in his driveway at his home in Jackson, Mississippi, on June 12, 1963, by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith, and died soon after being rushed to a nearby hospital. Evers’ assassination sparked national outrage and riots in the civil rights community, and ultimately played a large role in the push for legislation that lead to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Evers was born July 2, 1925, in Decatur, Mississippi; served in the U.S. Army during World War II; and after returning home, enrolled at Alcorn College in Lorman, Mississippi.
While at Alcorn, Evers met his future wife and fellow activist Myrlie Beasley, and they married in 1951. After a brief stint selling life insurance, Evers became a leader in the RCNL, and started organizing racial activism, such as boycotts of segregated businesses. He took on the education system after being denied acceptance to the then-segregated University of Mississippi Law School in 1954. This action was unsuccessful at the time, but it lead to his appointment as the first NAACP field officer in Mississippi (and he was later a major force in the school’s eventual desegregation in 1962). Evers’ high-profile position in Mississippi essentially put a target on his back in the eyes of white supremacists like De La Beckwith, and he and his family received multiple threats. After Evers’ death, De La Beckwith was in and out of court for the next 30 years on various charges–through the perseverance and determination of Myrlie Evers, De La Beckwith was finally formally charged with the murder in 1994. Evers’ legacy lives on today through writing, music, and film. He is also the namesake for a campus of the City University of New York, a U.S. Navy vessel, and the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute in Jackson. Medgar and Myrlie Evers had three children: Darrell, Reena, and James Evers.
“Medgar Evers” Biography - http://www.biography.com/people/medgar-evers-9542324?page=3
Myrlie Evers, now Myrlie Evers-Williams, was Medgar Evers’ wife and fellow civil rights activist. After Medgar’s death, she continued to fight for racial injustice, and built a strong role of her own in the NAACP, eventually serving as the organization’s chairwoman from 1995-1998. Myrlie Beasley was born March 17, 1933, in Vicksburg, Miss., and attended Alcorn College, where she met her first husband, Medgar Evers (the two married in 1951). She fought alongside her husband during his roles in the RCNL and the NAACP, while raising the couple’s three children, Darrell, Reena, and James Evers. Medgar was shot and killed on June 12, 1963, by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith; Myrlie Evers spent the next 30 years working tirelessly to see De La Beckwith brought to justice in 1994, after two hung juries set him free in 1964. Evers moved her family to California in 1967, where she enrolled in and graduated from Pomona College, and eventually became the first black woman to serve on the Los Angeles Board of Public Works (from 1987-1995). In 1976, she married her second husband, Walter Williams. Myrlie Evers-Williams has written multiple books, was named Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine, and was the first woman to give an inaugural invocation at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2013.
“Myrlie Evers-Williams” Biography - http://www.biography.com/people/myrlie-evers-williams-205624?page=1
“Myrlie Evers-Williams” Gale - http://www.gale.cengage.com/free_resources/bhm/bio/everswilliams_m.htm
(James) Charles Evers is the older brother of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers. Charles worked alongside his brother, and actually took over Medgar’s post of NAACP Mississippi field officer of after Medgar’s death in 1963. Charles was born September 11, 1922, in Decatur, Miss. Like his brother, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and attended Alcorn College, where he became student body president. He married his wife Nannie Laurie in 1951, and was a history teacher for a short time before becoming more involved with the NAACP (he was named Mississippi’s State Voter Registration Chairperson in 1954). Evers and his family moved to Chicago in 1956, after Charles’ position and activities with the NAACP put him on the radar of local white supremacists. They returned to Mississippi after his brother Medgar’s death in 1963, where Charles continued Medgar’s work. In 1969, Charles Evers was the NAACP’s Man of the Year, and he became the first African American to be elected to office in Mississippi since Reconstruction, when he became mayor of Fayette, Miss. He was Fayette’s mayor until 1981, and then again from 1985-1989. Charles Evers has written two autobiographies, was mentioned in John Updike’s Rabbit Redux, and lives in Jackson, Miss., today, where is the radio station manager of WMPR 90.1FM.
“Jim Crow Stories–Charles Evers” PBS - http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_people_evers.html
“Evers, James Charles” BlackPast - http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/evers-james-charles-1922
Byron De La Beckwith, Jr. was a white supremacist from Greenwood, Mississippi, who shot and killed Medgar Evers on June 12, 1963. De La Beckwith was born November 9, 1920, in Colusa, California. Both of his parents died while Byron was young–his father passed when Byron was five, prompting his mother to relocate the family to her home state of Mississippi; and his mother died when Byron was 12. He was raised by an uncle in Greenwood and served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. Upon his return from the war, De La Beckwith married his first wife Mary Louise “Willie” Williams, with whom he had one child, Delay De La Beckwith (Byron later divorced Willie and married Thelma Lindsay Neff). After the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board in 1954, Byron De La Beckwith decided to become more involved with racial issues, and became a member of the newly-formed White Citizens’ Council. He became an investigator for the Greenwood chapter, noting that he was “rabid on the subject of segregation.” The White Citizens’ Council was a nonviolent group, rather, engaging in economic and legislative activities designed to uphold segregation. De La Beckwith often advocated for stronger direct action. Just after prominent local NAACP leader Medgar Evers was assassinated, a rifle determined to be the murder weapon was found nearby with De La Beckwith’s fingerprints. De La Beckwith told police that his rifle had been stolen, but witnesses claimed to have seen him and his car nearby. He was also overhead at later Ku Klux Klan meetings bragging about shooting Medgar Evers. De La Beckwith was arrested and tried twice in 1963 and 1964 for the murder, but both times (with all-male and all-white jury members), the cases resulted in hung juries, and he was released. In 1973, De La Beckwith was arrested and convicted in New Orleans for transporting explosives in his car without a permit; prosecutors alleged that he had been on his way to bomb the home of a leader of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. While serving prison time, De La Beckwith refused medical aid from a black prison nurse while sick, and was overheard by a prison guard admitting that he had gotten “rid of an uppity” Medgar Evers. Evers’ widow Myrlie Evers-Williams had kept her husband’s murder trial alive, and in 1994, the same prison guard testified against De La Beckwith. In his third trial, which consisted of a black and white jury, Byron De La Beckwith was found guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison, and remained in prison until his death on January 21, 2001.
“Byron De La Beckwith” Murderpedia - http://murderpedia.org/male.B/b/beckwith-bryron.htm
“Byron De La Beckwith Dies; Killer of Medgar Evers Was 80” New York Times - http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/23/us/byron-de-la-beckwith-dies-killer-of-medgar-evers-was-80.html?src=pm
“Racist killer's biography is revealing” The Baltimore Sun - http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1994-03-29/features/1994088147_1_byron-de-la-la-beckwith-massengill
“White Citizens’ Council” Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Citizens%27_Council
Willie Beckwith–Mary Louise “Willie” Williams Beckwith was first wife of Byron De La Beckwith. They were married from September 22, 1945; their only son, Byron De La Beckwith, Jr., was born Sept 9, 1946. The marriage had much domestic discord and abuse; the couple divorced three times in the early 1960s with the last in 1965.
Radic, Randy. 2009, December 14. For God’s Sake: The assassination of Medger Evers. Retrieved May 7, 2013 from http://www.crimemagazine.com/god%E2%80%99s-sake-assassination-medgar-evers.
Finding Aid for the Byron de la Beckwith Correspondence, Photographs, and Other Materials MS.3439. USpecial Collections Online @ University of Tennessee. Retrieved May 7, 2013 from http://dlc.lib.utk.edu/spc/view?docId=ead/0012_002749_000000_0000/0012_002749_000000_0000.xml
Mitchell, Jerry. 2013, February 13. As 50th anniversary of assassination nears, more books shine light on Medgar Evers [Weblog post]. Retrieved May 10, 2013 from http://blogs.clarionledger.com/jmitchell/2013/02/13/as-50th-anniversary-of-assassination-nears-more-books-shine-light-on-medgar-evers.
A. Van Jordan–African American poet and educator born March 5, 1965 in Akron, Ohio. Among his published books of poems: Rise (2001), M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A (2005), Quantum Lyrics (2007), The Cineaste (2013). Currently Professor of Creative Writing and Poetry at the University of Michigan.
A. Van Jordon. Poetry Foundation.com. Retrieved May 8, 2013 from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/a-van-jordan
Tyehimba Jess–African American writer, poet and educator who has taught at Julliard, University of Illinois and, lately, at the College of Staten Island (CUNY). His works include Soulfires: Young Black Men in Love and Violence (1996), Slam: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry (2000), Reading the Bones (2004) and leadbelly: Poems (2005).
Tyehimba Jess. Poetry Foundation.com. Retrieved May 8, 2013 from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/tyehimba-jess.
Thelma Lindsay Neff Beckwith–She is the second wife of Byron De La Beckwith. They were married in 1983. They shared many of the same views. She died January 21, 2001.
Dickerson, James. Dixie's Dirty Secret. M. E. Sharpe: Armonk, N.Y., 1998.
Byron De La Beckwith. Mississippi Civil Rights Project. Retrieved May 10, 2013 from http://mscivilrightsproject.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=158:byron-de-la-beckwith&catid=92:person&Itemid=16 .
Finding Aid for the Byron de la Beckwith Correspondence, Photographs, and Other Materials MS.3439. USpecial Collections Online @ University of Tennessee. Retrieved May 10, 2013 from http://dlc.lib.utk.edu/spc/view?docId=ead/0012_002749_000000_0000/0012_002749_000000_0000.xml .
Thomas Sayers Ellis–African American poet was born , photographer and teaches creative writing a Sarah Lawrence College. Some of his many published works are The Genuine Negro Hero (2001), The Maverick Room (2005), Song On (2005) and Skin Inc.: Identity Repair Poems (2010).
Thomas Sayers Ellis. Poetry Foundation.com. Retrieved May 8, 2013 from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/thomas-sayers-ellis.
Names in Mr. Walker’s Timeline:
Emmett Louis Till–born in Chicago on July 25, 1941 to Louis and Mamie Till. While visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, he was the murder victim in a brutal hate crime on August 28, 1955 for flirting with a white woman; he was fourteen years old. His mother held an open casket funeral service so the world could see the extent of his injuries; this sparked angry protests and ignited the Civil Rights movement.
Emmett Louis Till. Find A Grave.com. Retrieved on May 8, 2013 from http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=12300.
Rosa Parks–Civil Rights activist and Secretary with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Montgomery, AL chapter. On December 1, 1955 the famous Montgomery, Alabama, Bus Boycott began when she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person and stand in the back of the bus. A young Martin Luther King, Jr. organized the boycott and began the Civil Rights movement in earnest.
Rosa Parks Bus. The Henry Ford. http://www.thehenryford.org/exhibits/rosaparks/story.asp
Interview with Rosa Parks. Digital History. Retrieved May 9, 2013 from http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtid=3&psid=1142
James Meredith–was the first African American student at the University of Mississippi on October 1, 1962. He was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi on June 25, 1933. He graduated in 1963 with a degree in Economics. He has become a political activist.
Meredith, James Howard. Martin King Junior and the Global Freedom Struggle. Retrieved May 8, 2013 from http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_meredith_james_howard_1933/
Denise McNair, Cynthis Wesley, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins
Four little girls were killed attending services at the 16th St Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, on September 15, 1963 with a bomb planted by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The national outrage spread abhorrence for the values which supported such inhumane violence. The children killed were:
Denise McNair–Carol Denise McNair was born in Birmingham, AL on Nov. 17, 1951 to Chris and Maxine McNair. She died two months short of her twelfth birthday.
Denise McNair. Find A Grave.com. Retrieved on May 8, 2013 from http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6433280.
Cynthia Wesley–Cynthia Dionne Wesley was born on April 30, 1949, and was the adopted daughter of Claude and Gertrude Wesley. ******* Ullman High School***** She was 14 years old.
Cynthia Dionne Wesley. Find A Grave.com. Retrieved on May 8, 2013 from http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6433296.
Carole Robertson–Carole Rosamond Robertson was born on April 24, 1949, the third child of Alpha and Alvin Robertson. She was a member of the Girl Scouts, the Band and Science Club at Wilkerson Elementary School. She was only fourteen years old when she died.
Carole Rosamond Robertson. Find A Grave.com. Retrieved on May 8, 2013 from http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6433311.
Addie Mae Collins–Born on April 18, 1949 was one of Julius and Alice Collins’ seven children, she attended Hill Elementary School. She was 14 years old when she was killed.
Addie Mae Collins. Find A Grave.com. Retrieved on May 8, 2013 from http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?GRid=6433252&page=gr.
James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner
During the summer of 1964, also known as Freedom Summer, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were in Mississippi working on education and voter registration projects for African Americans. On June 21, 1964, they were returning to Meridian, Mississippi, when they were pulled over by Neshoba County, Miss., Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price. Price, who was accompanied by Ku Klux Klansmen in other vehicles, put the three in his patrol car and drove them to an isolated road where they were murdered by Wayne Roberts and James Jordan. The bodies were dumped into an earthen dam that was under construction.
(Source: Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America)
More information: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/profiles/58_northern.html
James Chaney (1943-1964) was a native of Meridian, Mississippi, and had worked as a plasterer. He joined the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1963, and much of his work involved travelling to rural counties to set up meetings between civil rights groups. (Source: http://www.core-online.org/History/chaney.htm)
Andrew Goodman (1943-1964) was a native of New York City. He grew up in a liberal and socially conscious family, and became an activist as a teenager. He volunteered for the Mississippi Summer Project and was killed the day after his arrival in Meridian. (Source: http://www.core-online.org/History/goodman.htm)
Michael “Mickey” Schwerner (1939-1964) was a native of New York City. He became a CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) field worker in Mississippi in January 1964. While there, he organized a community center and coordinated civil rights protests, including the boycott of a store that had a significant black clientele but no African-American employees. (Source: http://www.core-online.org/History/schwerner.htm)
Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) was the Attorney General of the United States in the administration of his brother, John F. Kennedy. As Attorney General, he used the full power of the federal government to enforce civil rights legislation, such as school integration. After his brother’s assassination in 1963, he won for a U.S. Senate seat and later became a candidate for the presidency in 1968. He was killed on June 6, 1968, while celebrating an electoral victory in California. (Source: Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America)
Malcolm X (1925-1965) was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Neb. He had a difficult childhood and eventually became involved in criminal activities. While in prison, he began to study the teachings of the Nation of Islam movement and its leader, Elijah
Muhammad. After his release from prison, he traveled to Chicago to meet Muhammad. Once accepted into the movement, he was given the name Malcolm X. Over the next 12 years, he participated in the NOI, which espoused the complete separation of African-Americans from white, Western society, becoming its most prominent national speaker. In 1964, he left the Black Muslims and founded two organizations: the Muslim Mosque, Inc., and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. In 1964, he went to Mecca on pilgrimage. When he returned, he changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, converted to the Sunni Islam religion and said that he no longer believed that all white people were evil. He began holding meetings in Harlem to work with other black and progressive white organizations toward civil rights. At one such meeting, on February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City. Members of the Nation of Islam were tried and convicted of the murder. (Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography)
James Earl Ray (1928-1998) was born in Alton, Ill. His family, destitute and plagued with alcohol problems, also held racist beliefs. Ray started engaging in criminal activity while still in his teens. Except for a brief stint in the army, the vast majority of his adult life was spent committing robberies and serving time in prison. He escaped from the Missouri State Penitentiary in 1967 and surfaced in Memphis, Tenn., in April 1968, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 8, 1968. Ray was arrested for this crime on June 8, 1968 and pled guilty to the murder of Dr. King on March 10, 1969. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Three days after his sentencing, Ray recanted his guilty plea and proclaimed his innocence. He died on April 23, 1998 from kidney failure and complications of liver disease. (Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography)
Sirhan Sirhan is a Palestinian Christian with Jordanian citizenship, convicted of shooting and killing Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968. Sirhan was born in Jerusalem, Palestine, on March 14, 1944, and grew up during a time of great instability between the Jewish and Arab people of the region. At age 12, Sirhan’s family moved to the U.S., settling as refugees in California. Sirhan never became a U.S. citizen, and therefore could not vote, but was strongly engaged in political activities, especially those related to the tensions of the Middle East. He is also known for heavily experimenting with different religions in his youth, spending particularly long periods of time as a Baptist, and a Seventh-Day Adventist. In early June 1968, Kennedy was in Los Angeles, campaigning for the upcoming presidential election. While Sen. Kennedy was passing through a hallway at the Ambassador Hotel on his way to speak with reporters, witnesses saw 25-year-old Sirhan shoot the senator three times. Kennedy was rushed to a nearby hospital, but died the next day. Sirhan was found with the murder weapon in his hand, and originally confessed, though he later claimed to have no memory of the day. Prosecutors found a journal kept by Sirhan, in which he allegedly wrote, “RFK must die,” along with other incriminating phrases. This journal was also used to determine a motive: Kennedy supported the Jewish people in the Middle East, and Sirhan wrote that he “must be sacrificed for the cause of the poor exploited people.” Sirhan was convicted of the murder in April 1969. He was originally sentenced to death, but that was changed a few years later to life in prison. He has been in prison since his conviction, has made multiple appeals (including one recently in 2011), and was the topic of conversation again in 2012, when a witness came forward to claim that she saw multiple people shoot the senator that night. Despite these efforts, Sirhan Sirhan is still serving his life sentence at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, Calif.
“RFK’s assassin subject of govt. program? Sirhan Sirhan’s lawyer fights for a new trial”
“April 23, 1969 | R.F.K. Assassin Sirhan Sirhan Sentenced to Death” New York Times - http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/23/april-23-1969-rfk-assassin-sirhan-sirhan-sentenced-to-death/
“The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy” Crime Library, TruTV - http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/terrorists_spies/assassins/kennedy/4.html
“RFK assassination witness willing to testify for Sirhan Sirhan's lawyers” CNN - http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/08/justice/california-rfk-second-gun
Fred Hampton was a leader in the NAACP and the Black Panther Party. Hampton was born on August 30, 1948, in Chicago, and grew up in a suburb of the city. After becoming a leader in the NAACP’s local Youth Council, he went on to establish Chicago’s first Black Panther chapter. Through the Black Panthers, he established community service programs to provide free meals in area schools and community healthcare, taught local classes in political activism and education, and worked to reduce Chicago’s gang violence. Hampton and the Chicago Black Panthers were the subject of multiple FBI and police raids, one of which would prove to be fatal–on December 4, 1969, a police raid on the Chicago Black Panthers Headquarters turned into a shootout. Fred Hampton was shot in the shoulder by Chicago police–several nearby Panthers reported that they heard police discussing whether or not Hampton had died from the shot, and when they determined he was still alive, two more shots were heard. Fred Hampton’s shooting caused outrage from civil rights activists both in Chicago, and nationally.
“The Black Panther Raid and the death of Fred Hampton” Chicago Tribune - http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-chicagodays-pantherraid-story,0,3414208.story
"The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther" Democracy Now - http://www.democracynow.org/2009/12/4/the_assassination_of_fred_hampton_how
“Fred Hampton” Spartacus Educational - http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAhamptonF.htm
Rodney King was born April 2, 1965, in Sacramento, Calif., and was most known for being a victim of police brutality in the early 1990s. On March 3, 1991, King was involved in a high-speed car chase with the Los Angeles Police Department in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. When the four LAPD officers in pursuit were able to stop King’s vehicle, they shot King with two electric darts, and beat him with batons over fifty times while he was lying in the middle of the street. A man who lived in the area caught the whole incident on camera, and the subsequent video was shown on national news. The responding police officers were charged with assault with a deadly weapon, but were eventually acquitted in April 1992, resulting in massive riots in Los Angeles’ South Central neighborhoods. These riots, lasting for almost a week, resulted in 55 deaths, over 2,000 injuries, and over $1 billion in damages. Rodney King survived the 1991 incident and the 1992 riots. He was found dead in a swimming pool on June 17, 2012, an autopsy uncovered multiple drugs in his system.
“Rodney King” Biography - http://www.biography.com/people/rodney-king-9542141?page=1
“Police: Rodney King's 'accidental drowning' involved drugs” CNN - http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/23/us/rodney-king-autopsy
“Legacy of Rodney King, 10 Years Later” ABC News - http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93945&page=1#.UYv_SaKG1c0
James Byrd, Jr. was born May 2, 1949, in Beaumont, Texas. On June 7, 1998, James Byrd (who was black) was walking home from a dinner in his hometown of Jasper, Texas, and accepted a ride from three white men–Lawrence Russell Brewer, John William King, and Shawn Berry. The men drove Byrd to a remote location and violently attacked him, chained him up behind the truck they were driving, and dragged him for at least three miles. Byrd’s body was ripped apart, and his three attackers left the various pieces in front of a local African-American church. Police later found pieces of Byrd’s body left in 81 different places along the road where he was dragged. All three men were convicted of Byrd’s murder. Brewer was executed in 2011, King is currently sitting on death row, and Berry is serving life in prison. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, partially because of Byrd’s murder.
“James Byrd’s killer: 'I’d do it all over again'” KHOU - http://www.khou.com/news/The-Texas-murder-that-shook-America--130176288.html
“James Byrd Jr's family explains the coping process as his killer is executed” KTRE - http://www.ktre.com/story/15519578/james-byrd-jrs-family-speaks-out-as-his-killer-is-executed
“UPDATE: 1 of 3 men convicted in hate crime murder of James Byrd Jr. has been executed”
Timothy Thomas was a nineteen-year-old black man from Cincinnati whose shooting and killing by Cincinnati police sparked massive riots in that city in April 2001. Police had multiple warrants for Thomas’ arrest, mostly having to do with non-dangerous traffic violations like driving without a license or seat belt use, or, as many of the protestors cited, violations that often come as a result of racial profiling since police often cannot tell that these are issues until the person has already been stopped. Most of Thomas’ violations occurred over a period of two months in early 2000, which also caused protestors to believe that Thomas was being deliberately targeted and harassed. Thomas was spotted by police outside a nightclub in the very early morning of April 7, 2001. As they approached, Thomas fled, prompting a foot chase through Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neighborhood. One of the officers, claiming to have seen Thomas reaching for a weapon, shot and killed Timothy Thomas with one bullet. Thomas’ case wasn’t unique in the Cincinnati area at that time; over the span of six months, four other black Cincinnatians had also been killed by police. During the next week, multiple violent riots broke out in many of the city’s neighborhoods, including downtown (City Hall itself saw major damage). During this time, the riots Cincinnati incurred over $3.8 million in damages.
“Cincinnati riots subside after night of fires, looting” CNN - http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/04/11/cincinnati.riots/
“Ticket to Die: Did a fatally flawed system cost Timothy Thomas his life?” CityBeat - http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-6644-news-ticket-to-die.html
“Behind the death of Timothy Thomas” Dateline NBC -http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4703574/ns/dateline_nbc-dateline_specials/t/behind-death-timothy-thomas/#.UYrancpXqTQ
Edgar Ray “Preacher” Killen
Edgar Ray Killen, son of Lonnie Ray and Mary Etta Hitt Killen, is a former sawmill operator, Southern Baptist minister, and Ku Klux Klan member who was convicted of manslaughter for orchestrating the slayings of three civil rights activists. These victims that died in Philadelphia, Mississippi, on June 21, 1964, were James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. Killen was not found guilty of any crime in a related 1967 trial because of a hung jury, for one juror did not want to convict a preacher. The case was not re-opened until 2005. On June 21, 2005, he was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 60 years in prison, twenty years apiece for each victim’s life.
Knight, Danielle. "Trying Times." U.S. News & World Report 138.24 (2005): 30.
“Mississippi Ex-Klansman Convicted, Sentenced In Civil Rights Era Murders." Jet 108.2 (2005): 8.
Sheldon, Andy, Beth Bonora, and Beth Foley. "Working For Justice In Neshoba County, Mississippi: Andy Sheldon And Beth Bonora Discuss Trial Consulting In This Landmark Case." Jury Expert 22.5 (2010): 52-64.
Younge, Gary. "Racism Rebooted. (Cover Story)." Nation 281.2 (2005): 11.
Andrew Goodman: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?GRid=6442202&page=gr
Michael Schwerner: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6442197
Jena LA high school students
The 2006-2007 school year for Jena (LA) high school was a turbulent one. It began in August 2006 with a black student asking the principal if he was able to sit under the “white tree.” The next day there were nooses strung in the tree, triggering a debate in the motive of the action and in how the perpetrators should be punished. While the principal recommended expulsion, the school board and superintendent overruled his decision and gave them three days of in-school suspension. Tension rose: a high school wing was burned; a fight between blacks and whites broke out at a private party. In December, a scuffle in the lunchroom turned violent. A fight broke out between a white student and a black student, with five other black students joining in, later dubbed the Jena Six. The student went to the hospital and was treated, released later that day. However, these students were not going to get off with in-school suspensions like those that committed the noose-hanging debacle. They were charged as adults with attempted second-degree murder, which caused a national outrage. Support from across the country poured in for these students. Mychal Bell, after a long complicated trial, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of battery and was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile facility. On June 26, 2009, five of the defendants entered pleas of no contest to a charge of simple battery. They were charged and sentenced to a fine of $500 and unsupervised probation.
Lexington Herald-Leader. "Briefs - NATION WORLD." Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) 27 Jun. 2009, Final, Main News: A3.
Garcia, J. Malcolm. "A Product of This Town: Jena, Louisiana—January 2008." Virginia Quarterly Review 84.3 (2008): 44-73.
Smolowe, JillPeabody, ZantoLaney, RuthLewis-Boothman, Debra. "A Town Divided." People 68.14 (2007): 66.
Spencer, DeShuna. "NAACP At Forefront Of Jena Six Case." Crisis 114.6 (2007): 41.
Waldman, Amy. "The Truth about Jena." Atlantic Monthly 301.1 (2008): 98.
Online petition during the events: http://orig.colorofchange.org/jena/
James Anderson Murder
On June 26, 2011, James Craig Anderson was murdered by Deryl Dedmon in Jackson, Mississippi. The murder was a hate crime, for the cause for the murder was racially motivated. Deryl Dedmon and his friends were drinking socially and decided to go to a predominantly black area in Jackson to stir up trouble. Anderson was near his vehicle when the group beat and robbed him. Dedmon then ran over Anderson, resulting in Anderson’s death. Dedmon entered a guilty plea to murder and a hate crime charge and conspiracy charges. Four other men from the group also pleaded guilty to federal hate crime and conspiracy charges.
ALLISON, KEYES. "Mississippi Crime Sparks National Outrage." Tell Me More (NPR) (AUG 11, 2011)
DOKOUPIL, TONY. "The Devil In Deryl Dedmon." Newsweek 159.16 (2012): 34.
Johnson, Kevin. "Three plead guilty in fatal hate crime." USA Today, March 23, 2012.
Land Report www.mississippilink.com, The Monica. "Sixth man pleads to hate crime against blacks in Jackson." Mississippi Link, The (Jackson, MS) 10 Jan. 2013, News: 1. NewsBank. Web. 12 May. 2013.
Interactive Turn Me Loose Research
James Anderson: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=74619990
Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black male, was murdered by George Zimmerman, a multiracial Hispanic American, on February 26, 2012. Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch coordinator for his gated community, saw Martin walking about between the buildings in the rain, and was suspicious of him because of prior burglaries that had occurred. He notified the police and, against their advice, began to follow Martin. Martin, who was staying with his father and his father’s fiancé within the gated community, noticed he was being followed. Zimmerman and Martin struggled and Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest, claiming it was out of self-defense. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder and is awaiting trial. There have been accusations that the slaying was racially motivated, but that has not been proven.
Barker, Cyril Josh. "Trayvon Martin: One year later." New York Amsterdam News 28 Feb. 2013: 1.
Hanley, Delinda C. "Trayvon Martin And "The Talk" No American Child Should Have To Hear." Washington Report On Middle East Affairs 31.3 (2012): 34.
Newman, Alex. "The Exploitation Of Trayvon Martin's Death." New American 28.9 (2012): 20.
PR, Newswire. "Civil Rights Leader Rejects Sharpton's False Outrage Over Trayvon Martin Shooting." PR Newswire US 22 Mar. 2012: Regional Business News.
William M., Welch. "Police: Trayvon Martin shooting 'avoidable'." USA Today, May 18, 2012.
Trayvon Martin: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=86298494
Bibliography of Related Works
Carson, Clayborne. Civil Rights Chronicle: The African-American Struggle for Freedom. Lincolnwood, Ill.: Legacy, 2003.
• This book of essays focuses on the Civil Rights movement in the years between 1954 and 1968, but includes information on the events in American history that preceded and led to the events of 1954.
Delaughter, Bobby. Never Too Late: A Prosecutor’s Story of Justice in the Medgar Evers Case. New York: Scribner, 2001.
• Bobby Delaughter was the prosecutor in the 1994 case against Evers’ murderer, Byron De La Beckwith. De La Beckwith had been brought to trial twice before, but both trials ended in hung juries.
Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Champaign, IL.: University of Illinois Press, 1995.
• This title focuses on the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi, including James Meredith’s integration of Ole Miss, the murder of Medgar Evers, and the assassination of three civil rights workers in the summer of 1964.
Evers, Myrlie. For Us, the Living. Jackson, Mississippi: Banner Books, 1967.
• Medgar Evers widow, Myrlie, recounts their courtship and marriage and she discusses her late husband’s commitment to his work.
Evers-Williams, Myrlie and Melinda Blau. Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be. New York: Little Brown and Company, 1999.
• After the death of her husband, Myrlie Evers-Williams became a powerful advocate for civil rights as well as chairwoman of the NAACP. This is her autobiography.
Evers-Williams, Myrlie and Manning Marable. The Autobiography of Medgar Evers: A Hero’s Life and Legacy Revealed Through His Writings, Letters and Speeches. New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2005.
Lexington Public Library Catalog
• A compilation of Medgar Evers life’s work, including speeches, letters, documents, and the monthly written reports he sent to the NAACP while working in Mississippi.
Gwin, Minrose. Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Long Civil Rights Movement. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2013.
• Evers’ life and his assassination inspired works of poetry, fiction, essays, music and drama. Gwin examines these works and discusses their impact on the way in which we remember Medgar Evers and his life’s work.
Hampton, Henry and Steve Fayer. Voices of Freedom: Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s through the 1980s. New York: Bantam Books, 1990.
Lexington Public Library Catalog
• For this oral history, Hampton and Fayer compiled nearly 1,000 interviews with politicians, journalists, students, activists and citizens who were in some way involved in or impacted by the Civil Rights Movement.
Hudgins, Andrew. The Glass Hammer. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.
• Cited by Walker in his bibliography, this work is a series of narrative poems about growing up in the South during the 1950s and ’60s.
Massengill, Reed. Portrait of a Racist: The Real Life of Byron De La Beckwith. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1994.
• Biography of Byron De La Beckwith, the man who murdered Medgar Evers and who managed to evade justice until 1994, when he was finally convicted after a third trial.
Mills, Kay. This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2007.
• Biography of Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil rights activist from Mississippi.
Morris, Willie. The Ghosts of Medgar Evers: A Tale of Race, Murder, Mississippi, and Hollywood. New York: Random House, 1998.
Lexington Public Library Catalog
• Well-known author Morris is a Mississippi native who returned home to work on the film Ghosts of Mississippi (1996). He recounts the experience of restaging events for the film and the effect that it had on those closest to the case.
Nossiter, Adam. Of Long Memory: Mississippi and the Murder of Medgar Evers. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press, 1994.
• Nossiter’s book discusses the third trial of Byron De La Beckwith in 1994 and the murder conviction it took 31 years to get.
Sims, Patsy. The Klan, 2nd ed. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996.
Lexington Public Library Catalog
• Since its initial publication in 1978, The Klan has become one of the most well-known books regarding the Ku Klux Klan. Re-released in 1996, the author’s exhaustive interviews (over 150 hours) with Klansman and their victims offer a rare glimpse inside a secretive organization.
Vollers, Maryann. Ghosts of Mississippi: The Murder of Medgar Evers, the Trials of Byron De La Beckwith, and the Haunting of the New South. New York: Back Bay Books, 1995.
• Voller’s work focuses on the state of Mississippi’s failure to get a conviction of Byron De la Beckwith in its first two attempts. This book examines the events that preceded De La Beckwith’s trials, as well as the social changes that occurred in the state of Mississippi that allowed prosecutors to finally get a conviction in 1994.
Williams, Michael Vinson. Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2011.
• To better understand the man that Evers was, the author interviewed Evers’ widow, his siblings, friends, schoolmates and fellow activists. What Williams found was a man deeply passionate about civil rights who was willing to risk his own life in the fight for equality.
Free At Last: Civil Rights Heroes. Image Entertainment, 2012.
-Documentary on leaders of the Civil Rights movement.
Ghosts of Mississippi. Turner Home Entertainment, 1996.
-The film account of the 1994 trial and conviction of Byron De La Beckwith.
Medgar Evers biography from Biography.com
Story on the integration of Ole Miss from the History Channel.
Article on the conviction of De La Beckwith in the killing Medgar Evers from the History Channel.
President Obama Inauguration 2013 Ceremony (Myrlie Evers-Williams Inaugural Invocation)
youtube.com (via CNN)
Interview with Myrlie Evers-Williams on the Invocation
Report to the American People on Civil Rights 11 June 1963 given by President Kennedy. This speech took place hours before Evers was assassinated.
The Legacy of Medgar Evers, story for CBS news produced after the election of President Obama.
James Meredith 'still at war' 50 years after ending segregation on Mississippi campus.
The Murder Of Emmett Till (2003) (Documentary from American Experience)
youtube (via Documentary from American Experience)
Emmitt Till 1955 (PBS), PBS documentary.
youtube (via PBS)
NPR segment from 2003 on the 40th anniversary of Evers’ death.
Medgar Evers (brief bio)
Medgar Evers (brief bio)
Medgar Evers FBI File
The Parks Service brief bio
National Parks Service
Medgar Evers Home, has interviews with family and friends.