A Collection about Medgar Evers:
They Say I Killed Him, They Say I Died A Hero
On June 12, 1963 Medgar Evers, Civil Rights activist, was shot in the back in the drive way of his home. Like many African American men during this period in American history his murder went unsolved for thirty-one years. It was in 1994 that Byron De La Beckwith was brought to trial for a third time. The first two trials in 1964 both ending in hung juries, both represented by full white male jurors. It is through the voices of both of these men that their stories and poetic reality comes to life. One still living in his true belief that the death of Medgar Evers was something that needed to happen and the other, the man on the receiving end of his hate fought all his life against the violence that eventually killed him. Two historical men whose paths will forever be crossed, intermingled and tied up within each other. Years of hatred building up to one night, one gun, a handful of bullets and finally, the hand of justice. Their voices tell us that ignorance can sometimes speak sense and freedom is still worth fighting for.
Story of Medgar Evers
- They Say I Killed Him “There are only three kinds of people that live in Mississippi. Whites, colored and trash, and there's very little trash in Mississippi.” (1) I said that, Byron De La Beckwith born in California, raised in Mississippi, member of the Citizens Council and a proud man of the Klu Klux Klan. I never wanted to be famous but I knew that we had to stand up to these coloreds, thinking they had a voice. They say I shot a man. They say I assassinated him. I say you can’t assassinate a boy who ain’t important. That’s what I say. There are two colors in this world, white and other. Only one of those colors matters and that’s white. I ain’t exactly sure when it came to be that the colored folk got so upset about the way things have always been. No you don’t have rights, you never have. Actually we were nice enough to hand down some rights to you. No you can’t vote, you never have. And hell no you can’t be my equal, hell saying that makes me laugh, a colored being equal to a white man, don’t even sound natural, don’t sound right. Of course I did it. Of course I stood behind that great oak tree and waited for him to open the door to his car and I shot him in the back. Some say that to shoot a man in the back is a coward thing to do, I say if you shoot a man in the back you’re gaining the upper hand. What do you need to look him in the eye for? We warned him. We told him that if he continued with all this equal rights mumbo jumbo that we were going to get them.