How Medgar Evers’ Widow Fought 30 Years for His Killer’s Conviction

When Myrlie Evers was told in 1989 that new information in the case of the murder of her late husband, several decades old, would probably not move the law, she did not react with anger.

Instead, the widow of the hero of the civil rights movement, Medgar Evers, listened carefully to Mississippi attorney Bobby DeLaughter, who said the state had found no evidence of a previous lawsuit. Then she calmly asked her team “Just try it.”

Faced with the overwhelming probability of a case with few surviving jurors, a provocative defendant who had always maintained his innocence and an audience that had long seemed to come out of the tragedy, others could have backed down. Instead, Myrlie Evers fought to have the murder case reopened – a battle she had waged for almost 30 years.

Medgar Evers faces constant threats

Even before her husband was assassinated in 1963, Myrlie Evers had struggled with the consequences of her husband’s attempts to reverse Jim Crow’s segregation. While acting in the name of the right to vote and against the laws and attitudes that pushed black southerners out of public schools, universities, beaches and fairgrounds, he had faced multiple death threats and an attempted to bombard his house with a Molotov cocktail. The danger was so serious that Medgar was under FBI protection, and the Evers family had explained to his children how to react if gunmen threatened him at home one day.

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