Medgar Evers Slept Here

Medgar Evers House, June 12, 1963. Photo via A Tribute to Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers House, June 12, 1963. Photo via A Tribute to Medgar Evers

Excerpt from Beckwith v. State of Mississippi (1998 appeal)

THE EVIDENCE
THE DEATH OF MEDGAR EVERS

3. The last hours of Medgar Evers were recounted by the testimony of his widow, Myrlie. On direct examination, Ms. Evers testified as follows:
Q. Okay. When was the last time that you saw your husband, Medgar Evers, alive?
A. The last time that I saw Medgar alive was on June the 11th, 1963, when he left home that morning to go to work.
Q. Okay. And did the NAACP have an office that he worked out of, or what– when you say he went to work, where would he go?
A. Well, there was an office. Office was located on Lynch Street here in Jackson. I recall that he left that morning after telling us goodbye with a very special embrace. And he went out to his car and was out there for a second or so, and came back in and told us to be sure to take good care of ourselves and to be sure to watch President Kennedy’s address that night, and hugged and kissed us all again and–and left.
Q. Okay. Did you get an opportunity to talk with him at any time later on during the day?
A. Yes.
Q. When–without telling us what he said, when approximately was the last time you talked with him?
A. Well, it was late that evening, afternoon I should say. It was before President Kennedy’s speech that night.
Q. Okay. Did you watch President Kennedy’s speech?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you watch it together? Was he with you?
A. No, he was not. He–he–he didn’t–had not returned home at that time. Just the children and myself.
Q. Okay. Did there come a time that he did return home?
A. Yes, he did return home.
Q. If you would, just take a minute and tell the jury about what time it was and what you remember hearing and seeing at that time.
A. Well, he returned home on the 12th of June. It was slightly after midnight when he came home. We heard the car, the motor, which we were very familiar with, and the children said, “There’s Daddy.” I might add we were in the bedroom. And we heard the car pull in the driveway, and this horrible blast. And the children fell to the floor, as he had taught them to do. The baby was on the bed with me, and I bolted up off the bed and ran to the front door, and opened the door, and there was Medgar at the steps leading to the front door with his keys in his hand. It appeared that the force of the bullet had pushed him past his car, my car, and he had pulled himself around to–to the doorsteps.

The children–I screamed, I guess uncontrollably, and the children ran out shortly after I did, and they called, “Daddy, Daddy, get up. Please get up, Daddy.” I recall going back in the house for a second to call someone–I don’t even know who it was. At the time, I couldn’t get through. I ran back out, and I kept calling to him, and the children were calling to him. I do recall, however, that when I first got out to him that there was another shot that was fired, and I remember dropping down to my knees again because I thought someone was trying to–to shoot me as well. By the time I ran back out the second time, neighbors had come out and were over at the house. There were a couple of people helping to put Medgar on a mattress, and to put him in a vehicle to take him to a hospital for treatment.

Medgar Evers House as seen from the vantage point of Byron de la Beckwith. Photo via A Tribute to Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers House as seen from the vantage point of assassin Byron de la Beckwith. Photo via A Tribute to Medgar Evers

The Medgar Evers House still stands in northwest Jackson, just off Medgar Evers Blvd (formerly Delta Drive). It’s a place that all Mississippians should make a point to visit.

Medgar Evers House, Jackson, Hinds County.  Photo by J. Baughn, MDAH 09-07-2008 Retrieved from MDAH HRI database 2-20-13

Medgar Evers House, Jackson, Hinds County. Photo by J. Baughn, MDAH 09-07-2008 Retrieved from MDAH HRI database 2-20-13

You can tour the house virtually, read more about Medgar Evers, and see more crime scene photos at http://www.everstribute.org/index.php.

You can read more about the recent preservation project at the house and its rededication on June 10, 2013 at the Clarion-Ledger.



Categories: Civil Rights, Jackson, Museums, Renovation Projects

5 replies

  1. myrlie evers is a compelling writer and became an heroic figure in her very long pursuit of justice, as interesting as medgar. it’s nice to see this house preserved.

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  2. Well, as your masthead admits, E.L., it ain’t all moonlight and magnolias. Thank you for posting this, and thanks to those with the clearheadedness, humanity and fortitude to preserve the scene of a sad moment in Mississippi’s history.

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    • Ironically, the magnolias are in full bloom this week, as I assume they were that week in 1963. Yes, we need to preserve the hard places as much as the easy places of good memories. This is a real preservation success story in that respect.

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  3. If you are in Jackson this summer, make a point of visiting the new Medgar Evers exhibits at both the Winter Building and at the Smith-Robertson Museum.

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  4. What you will not see in the court record of Beckwith’s 1998 appeal is the testimony of the owner of the white Plymouth Valiant which witnesses testified was parked at the Club Katherine during Evers’ assassination. Beckwith owned a Plymouth Valiant at the time.The reason you will not see the Memphis truck driver’s testimony is because Judge Hilburn would not permit the jurors to hear the exculpatory testimony that the vehicle was owned by the Memphis trick driver and NOT Byron DeLa Beckwith! The exculpatory testimony was introduced into the second trial. And the two law enforcement witness in Greenwood have NEVER recanted their testimony that they saw Beckwith in Greenwood during the time of the assassination. In looking at the photo of the home from the “grass knoll,” it took a professional sniper “one shot, one kill” to fire with such accuracy in the dead of night. The dropped WWII war relic at the crime scene contained no fingerprints…there was a “partial print” allegedly found on the scope. Even the FBI’s internal memos stated that there was no evidence to link Beckwith. to the crime other than his “Big Mouth.” Check out R.W. Scott’s Glory In Conflict:The Saga of Byron DeLa Beckwith. Judge Chet Dillard knows more that his telling about the Evers affair and it is revealed in a deposition of FBI Special Agent Stringer, now deceased, that the FBI planted dynamite in Byron Beckwith’s car while it was parked at the Mayflower cafe. This was the frame for the New Orleans “ticking timebomb case.” He was acquitted by a Federal jury.

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