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Medgar Evers Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Jenny Homer

Jenny has masters' degrees in public health and public administration.

This lesson talks about Medgar Evers, a famous civil rights activist in Mississippi. Learn about his life, his work, and his courage during this difficult time in American history.

Medgar Evers

If you saw something happening that you knew was wrong, would you try to change it? What if speaking up was dangerous? This was the difficult question facing brave people like Medgar Evers, who participated in the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s.

During this time, African Americans were treated unfairly. They had to use different bathrooms and water fountains than whites. People began trying to change things, but speaking out was dangerous, especially in the South. Medgar Evers gave his life fighting for freedoms for African Americans.

Grave of Medgar Evers
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Early Life

Medgar Wiley Evers was born in Mississippi on July 2, 1925, and grew up on a small farm. During World War II, Medgar fought in the army. When he came home, he went to college in Mississippi to study business and participated in sports, debate, and choir. He married Myrlie in 1951.

Civil Rights Work

After graduating from college, Medgar joined the Regional Council of Negro Leadership. He set up a boycott, during which people wouldn't buy anything from gas stations if blacks were not allowed to use the bathrooms. In 1954, Medgar applied to law school at the University of Mississippi, but was not accepted. The school was segregated and did not accept African Americans.

Medgar, his wife, and brother began working with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which was just getting started in Mississippi. Medgar registered African Americans to vote.

Medgar and his family moved to Jackson, Mississippi. Since the Evers knew many whites did not like what Medgar was doing, the family thought about the safest housing options. They did not want a house on a corner or that had a front door; they wanted a home with a door next to a carport. You can visit the house they eventually decided on today.

In 1963, someone threw a small bomb at the Evers' house. The family spent more time at the back of the house, and the three kids slept on the floor. However, Medgar and Myrlie would not give up their civil rights work. Medgar even went on television to talk about civil rights.

Death and Legacy

On June 12, 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech about civil rights. That night, Medgar attended an NAACP meeting; when he came home, someone shot him in his driveway.

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