This is a continuation of last week’s episode on Medgar Evers and part two dives into his work with the NAACP. In 1954, Medgar became the field secretary for the state of Mississippi for the NAACP and was incredibly active and energetic, still having the same energy he had in college. He was involved with the Biloxi wade-in, labor organizing, and getting unions involved in the civil rights struggle. His biographer, Michael Vincent Williams, said his reach encompassed every facet of the civil rights struggle and his presence was felt in voter registration drives, economic boycotts, sit-ins, investigative reporting, and other direct action tactics. He also helped to organize a boycott of the bus system to challenge segregation laws. The boycott was a success, and in 1965 the US Supreme Court declared segregation on buses was unconstitutional. He also sought to register black people to vote, lamenting how the law was used to prevent this. In Jones County, Mississippi, the number of registered black voters went from 1300 to 65. These measures were used by white people to hurt Black people, but also poor people in general. He recognized the systemic oppression of African Americans across the country and the continued threat of violence they faced. It is further noted that Evers played an important role in the Emmett Till investigation, convincing Mamie to have an open casket funeral, which was a pivotal moment that changed the trajectory of history. The conversation serves to illustrate the bravery and commitment of Evers to the cause of civil rights, despite the fear and danger that he faced.
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