Tag Archives: Mississippi

Remembering Medgar Evers: The First Civil Rights Martyr

11Medgar Wiley Evers was born in Decatur, Mississippi on July 2, 1925; dying the victim of a racially motivated assassination on June 12, 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi after attending a rally. He was the third of four children of a small farm owner who also worked at a nearby sawmill. His social standing was impressed upon him every day, but Evers was determined not to cave in under such pressure. He once said his mission was evident at the age eleven or twelve when a close friend of the family was lynched.

He walked twelve miles each way to earn his high school diploma and joined the Army during the Second World War. Perhaps it was during the years of fighting in both France and Germany for his and other countries’ freedom that convinced Evers to fight on his own shores for the freedom of blacks. After serving honorably in the war, he was discharged in 1946; he began working for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1952. Evers traveled throughout the state of Mississippi trying to encourage voter registration and worked tirelessly to enforce federally mandated integration laws.

On 12 June 1963, hours after President John F. Kennedy gave a televised speech condemning segregation, Evers was shot in the back by a high-powered rifle while returning home. He crawled to the house and collapsed in front of his wife and three children; he died an hour later. The rifle found at the scene belonged to Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the all-white Citizens’ Council, a statewide group opposed to racial integration akin to the KKK.

Beckwith was tried twice but nearly thirty years later, thanks to the persistence of Evers’ widow, Myrlie Evers-Williams, the case was reopened and Beckwith was tried and convicted in 1994, and the conviction was upheld by the state supreme court in 1997. Evers-Williams published “For Us, The Living in 1967”; Beckwith’s trial was the basis for the 1996 film Ghosts of Mississippi that starred Whoopi Goldberg.

Medgar Evers position in the civil rights movement was that of field secretary for the NAACP and recognized as one of the first martyrs of the civil rights movement. His death prompted President John Kennedy to ask Congress for a comprehensive civil rights bill, which President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the following year.

The Mississippi in which Medgar Evers lived was a place of blatant discrimination where blacks dared not even speak of civil rights; much less actively campaign for them. Evers, a thoughtful, and committed member of the NAACP wanted to change his native state. He paid for his convictions with his life, becoming the first major civil rights leader whose death was called an assassination.

Evers was featured on a nine-man hit list in the Deep South as early as 1955. He and his family endured numerous threats and other violent acts, making them well aware of the danger surrounding his activism. Still he persisted in his efforts to integrate public facilities, schools, and restaurants. He organized voter registration drives and demonstrations. He spoke eloquently about the plight of his people and pleaded with the all-white government of Mississippi for some sort of progress in race relations. To those people who opposed such things, he was thought to be a very dangerous man.

In some ways, the death of Medgar Evers was a milestone in the hard-fought integration war that rocked America in the 1950s and 1960s. While the assassination of such a prominent black figure foreshadowed the violence to come, it also spurred other civil rights leaders, also targeted by white supremacists, to new fervor. They, in turn, were able to infuse their followers with a new and expanded sense of purpose; one that replaced apprehension with anger.

Evers must have also had a sense that his life would be cut short when what had begun as threats turned increasingly to violence. A few weeks prior to his death, someone threw a firebomb at his home. Afraid that snipers were waiting for her outside, Mrs. Evers put the fire out with a garden hose. The incident did not deter Evers from his rounds of voter registration or from his strident plea for a biracial committee to address social concerns in Jackson. His days were filled with meetings, economic boycotts, marches, prayer vigils, and picket lines and with bailing out demonstrators arrested by the all-white police force. It was not uncommon for Evers to work twenty hours a day.

The NAACP posthumously awarded its 1963 Spingarn medal to Medgar Evers. It was a fitting tribute to a man who had given so much to the organization and had given his life for its cause. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of Medgar Evers’ story lies in the attitudes of his two sons and one daughter.

Though they experienced firsthand the destructive ways of bigotry and hatred. Evers’ children appear to be very well-adjusted individuals. Myrlie Evers remarked, “it has taken time to heal the wounds [from their father’s assassination, and I’m not really sure all the wounds are healed. We still hurt, but we can talk about it now and cry about it openly with each other, and the bitterness and anger have gone.”

As a fitting tribute, Evers was interred at Arlington National Military Cemetery in Washington DC. How many of you are willing to give your life for something greater than yourself? And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com


Remembering: Fannie Lou Hamer

1Fannie Lou Hamer was one of the most courageous civil rights activist who was famous for saying she was sick and tired of the condition of black people, stood up and took a stand. She used a passionate depiction of her own suffering in a racist society helped focus attention on the plight of African Americans throughout the South. While working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1964; Hamer helped organize the 1964 Freedom Summer African American voter registration drive in her native Mississippi.

Born Fannie Lou Townsend on October 6, 1917 in Montgomery County, Mississippi the daughter of sharecroppers, Hamer began working the fields at an early age. Her family struggled financially, and often went hungry. In the summer of 1962, she made a life-changing decision to attend a protest meeting. She met civil rights activists there who were there to encourage African Americans to register to vote.

Hamer became active in helping with the voter registration efforts, which few in Mississippi were brave enough to do. Hamer dedicated her life to the fight for civil rights, working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) after going involved with the struggle. This organization was comprised mostly of African American students who engaged in acts of civil disobedience to fight racial segregation and injustice in the South. These acts often were met with violent responses by angry whites.

At the Democratic National Convention later that year, she was part of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, an integrated group of activists who openly challenged the legality of Mississippi’s all-white, segregated delegation. For her devotion and commitment she paid a heavy price. She was beaten within an inch of her life. So brutally that it took months for her to recover but she never gave up the fight.

During the course of her activist career, Hamer was threatened, arrested, beaten, and shot at but none of these things deterred her from her work. In 1964, Hamer helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which was established in opposition to the state’s all-white delegation to that year’s Democratic convention. She brought the civil rights struggle in Mississippi to the attention of the entire nation during a televised session at the convention.

The next year, Hamer ran for Congress in Mississippi but was unsuccessful in her bid. Along with her political activism, Hamer worked to help the poor and families in need in her Mississippi community. She also set up organizations to increase business opportunities for minorities and to provide childcare and other family services.

Hamer died of cancer on March 14, 1977 from cancer. The encryption on her tombstone denotes her famous quote, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” I’ll ask, when will this statement impact your life, whereas you will affect change. Mrs. Hamer put her life on the line for freedom. The next time you look in the mirror, ask yourself – WOULD YOU? And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Media Kit


Accounts From Black News At The Time: The lynching of Emmett Till

462_160Now that we know that the wicked white woman involved in the Emmett Till case has finally admitted she lied about what she claimed happen that day in the raggedy country store. I began to do some research and there is a lot more to the story of Emmett’s death than was told. I found that there were black men involved in the murder! Then I came across this narrative that shed new light on the case. I hope you will find this information as interesting as I did. I am posting the entire series of article from the black press at the time, which is a must read!!!

Here is the forward from “They Stand Accused”: On September 24, 1955, an all-white Mississippi jury, after a mere sixty-seven minutes of deliberation, acquitted J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant of the murder of Emmett Till. Till a fourteen-year-old black boy from Chicago had been visiting for the first time his extended family in the Mississippi Delta. One afternoon, barely a week into his visit, he and several other youths were standing outside a white-owned grocery in the small hamlet of Money.

Apparently, Till had been boasting of his friendships with white people up North — in particular, his friendships with white girls — and the local kids, looking to call his bluff, dared him to enter the store and flirt with Carolyn Bryant, the white woman and former beauty queen who was working the cash register. Till entered the store, and what he did next is unclear. Some say he “wolf-whistled” at Bryant; others say he grabbed her hand and asked her for a date; still, others claim he did nothing more than simply say “bye, baby” to her as he left the store. Whatever Till did, it was apparent to all involved that he had done something that made Carolyn Bryant angry or afraid. Till’s friends rushed him away from the store as Bryant went to her car to get a gun.

For three days, nothing more happened, and then Roy Bryant — Carolyn’s husband — and J.W. Milam — Roy Bryant’s step-brother — struck out in the dead of night in search of young Till. They found him where they thought he’d be at two in the morning: asleep in the modest cabin of Mose Wright, his great-uncle. The two men, demanding to see the boy “who’d done the talking,” took Till forcibly from the house, and his family never saw him alive again. The next morning, at their behest, the local sheriff searched the county, and when he could not find any trace of Till he questioned and eventually arrested Milam and Bryant on kidnapping charges. When Till’s bloated and disfigured corpse surfaced three days later downstream in the Tallahatchie River, Milam and Bryant were quickly re-arrested, this time for murder.

In the weeks leading up to the trial, media coverage was enormous. Influential African American weeklies like the Chicago Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier, the New York Amsterdam News, and the Baltimore Afro-American all published loud denunciations of southern injustice and threatened to exert political and economic pressure should Mississippi fail to give Till’s case a fair hearing. In response, southern white papers, led by the conservative Jackson Daily News and the more moderate Memphis Commercial Appeal, insisted that justice would be done and that continued threats from the “liberal press” would threaten rather than secure justice in the case.

Eventually, more than seventy newspapers and magazines sent reporters to the trial, and when, against all reasonable evidence, the jury failed to convict Milam and Bryant, the denunciations were swift and strong. While apologist papers in the South argued that justice had had its day in court, African American newspapers and magazines, joined by a chorus of support from the northern white press and liberal political organizations, called for national protests and boycotts.

According to many reporters in attendance, the judicial process had failed Emmett Till, and the real question to come out of the whole trial was whether, without federal intervention, blacks could get justice in Mississippi. For another set of dissenters, however, the trial raised a different set of questions, many of them concerned with the truths of the case. Despite the best efforts of the prosecuting attorneys, the trial seemed to hide more truths than it answered as many competing testimonies were never fully explored or cross-examined. For instance, what really had happened that afternoon in the Bryant grocery? Moreover, how did Milam and Bryant find out about the alleged transgression?

Who else besides Milam and Bryant drove out to Mose Wright’s cabin that night, and who were the other men spotted with Milam at the barn the next morning? Were there really black men in Milam’s pickup that evening? If so, who were they and what had happened to them? Finally, how long did Emmett Till remain alive that night, and exactly when, where, why and how did his murder take place? A handful of investigative reporters understood that the trial did not answer these questions fully and that the truth, more likely than not, had been obscured by the proceedings.

Among the investigative reporters at the trial, none played a more significant role than James L. Hicks. Hicks began his career as a reporter for the Cleveland Call and Post in 1935 and later moved on to the Baltimore Afro-American. As one of the premier investigative journalists of his generation, Hicks was also the Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the National Negro Press Association, which served more than one hundred newspapers. In 1955, he became executive director of the New York Amsterdam News, a position he would hold for the good part of twenty years.

As the first black member of the State Department Correspondents Association and the first black reporter cleared to cover the United Nations, Hicks was truly a pioneer in the field. His coverage of the Till trial ran in dozens of African-American newspapers, and in the following piece of investigative journalism — which ran in four installments in October 1955 — he tells about the role he played in discovering the existence of “missing witnesses” to the murder. Hicks’s work in this area actually forced a trial recess on Tuesday, September 20, as the prosecution called for time to track down these newly discovered witnesses.

In this series of articles — which ran in the Baltimore Afro-American, the Cleveland Call and Post and the Atlanta Daily World — Hicks argues that the forces of law in Mississippi conspired to prevent the full evidence of Milam and Bryant’s guilt from surfacing at the trial. The version reprinted here draws its structure from the installments published in the Cleveland Call and Post, which presented the most condensed rendering of Hicks’s articles. Passages omitted from the Cleveland Call and Post articles, but included in some form or another in either the Atlanta Daily World or the Baltimore Afro-American, have been inserted throughout and marked by the addition of brackets.

Follow this link for the entire series here that is shocking and a must read about the actual accounts written at the time!!! http://www.archipelago.org/vol6-1/hicks.htm


Carolyn Bryant: Pure Evil – May God Have No Mercy On Your Soul

462_160It was a story that shook the nation 62 years ago and catapulted America into the modern civil rights movement that changed America forever. White folk knew this act of terror was evil and wrong, and now the woman at the center of the crime admits she lied! Knowing that Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago, died a horrific death at the hands of her husband and his friend after buying bubble gum while visiting racially segregated Mississippi in 1955.

They beat, shot and disfigured his body beyond recognition – and walked free, acquitted at the hands of an all-white, all-male jury for allegedly whistling at a white woman. The woman, Carolyn Bryant, has lived in relative hiding for the last five decades, haunted by her past. She has now admitted that her testimony, which carried the case, was a blatant lie. So now she has written a book, “The Blood of Emmett Till” and reveals she lied about it all.

Emmett’s mother insisted on an open-casket funeral for Emmett to show the world what racism did to her young son and Jet Magazine publish the pictures in effect launching the modern Civil Rights Movement. Carolyn Bryant, then 21, was the wife of one of the men who were arrested for Emmett’s murder, Roy Bryant, was working at a store when Emmett came in to buy two cents of bubble gum on the hot August day. This event set in motion what would be his death sentence!

She claimed in her evocative testimony to the court that she couldn’t bring herself to the say the ‘unprintable’ word he’d said to her, rather to say that he told her he’d done ‘something’ with white women before which she said ‘I was just scared to death.’ Because she was a white woman insulted by a black person it took the jury less than an hour to acquit Bryant, and his partner J.W. Milam in the crime, which they admitted to law enforcement that they did kill Emmett and walked free because of her testimony!

Author Timothy Tyson, the author of The Blood of Emmett Till, spoke with Carolyn, who has since divorced and married twice more and is a mother of two children. She is now 83 years old. Regarding her statement that Emmett grabbed and verbally abused her, she simply said: ‘That part’s not true.’ Although she now claims she doesn’t remember anything else about the evening but when on to say ‘She was glad things had changed from the old system of white supremacy, though she had more or less taken it as normal at the time.’

The image of his inflated, contorted face made the cover of Jet Magazine and ignited and mobilized the public to rally for equal rights. This is the most despicable woman in the world carrying a lied inside her for sixty-two years and now that she is ready to die tries to justify the lie is shameful and despicable! MY GOD NOT HAVE MERCY ON HER SOUL!!! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

The Emmett Till Story


Their Claim To Heritage

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The Insanity Of WAR

11I can recall not too long ago, there was a tiny little place in Southeast Asia called Vietnam. When I was there we called it the land of the little people. They were not much more than poor rice farmers, not a mighty army or even a strong political force to any degree. Yet, they were able to defeat the mightiest nation on the planet. America told the American people we need to go there to support then to save democracy, because we had to fight Communism! Well, history tells us how well that worked out.

Millions of people died and were maimed; trillions of dollars were spent in this effort constructed on false pretences. They said this little nation attacked an American ship in the Gulf of Tonkin, which never happened but it was used to get America involved. This war lasted for more than a decade and left with no accolades. In fact, it was not a victory! We saw a similar action in the fifties in a little place called Korea!

Let’s look at today’s industrial military projects. Bush and company took put American in two wars about a decade or so. They told American people it was necessary to defend the “homeland” against terrorism. The Bush wars were also sold based on false pretenses, some say a downright lie. Wars have traditionally been fought for religion reasons in the name of God and of course land has been a reason. It is hard to determine if either of these reasons were the cause of these current wars. Yes, religion is part of it – land, not so much but this war is about what’s in the ground. So I suppose, it is not too far from the script.

In Vietnam, when American left; the enemy took over the entire country in about a week. In Iraq, about 800 ISIS forces took nearly half the country in a week. Not only that but these same 800 men caused 30,000 Iraqis troops to surrender and run away. Does this sound similar?

What is lost, however, is that the Politicians have yet to learn two things: [1] you cannot impose freedom upon people who don’t want it or know what it is and [2] they have not learned to mind their own business and stay out of the affairs of others. Particularly, when American has more than its share of problems here at home!

During the Vietnam War there was a draft, where you were force to go off to your death. This time we have what’s called an all volunteer army, which mean they convince men and women to volunteer to go off to be maimed and die. In Vietnam, most of the soldiers were black and poor. In this war, they are still poor, by and large, however, they are mostly white. Vietnam was about money and so is this war.

Bottom line is this: war is about money and has nothing to do with freedom! If you ask, what is war good for; the answer is nothing – absolutely nothing! What I think we can conclude is that these people who involve America in such conflicts cannot walk a chew gum at the same time because history has shown their way has not worked because not one war has been won in a half a century. Now, they got rich.

It is also important to note that most often these men who start wars have never been to war, which makes it easy to start one. Also, their loved ones and children never fight or die. Maybe a fair draft system might cause the war hawks to think more carefully if the new their children might suffer as a result. This is just a short reflection into the realm of sanity, or at least common sense. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Infamous Jamal Bryant Full Sermon: “I’m My Enemies Worst Nightmare”

I am sure all of you have heard about Reverend Jamal Bryant’s remark about “ho’s” from the pulpit, which appeared at the time out of bounds. In fact, I myself reblogged the social media news flash to which I regret. First, let me say I have no attachment to this guy but was drawn into something that did a disservice to this man’s message and for that I wish to offer an apology to Pastor Bryant and those who follow him.

I don’t want to sound arrogant and I don’t often apologize for much, but in this situation, after doing some research, I found the entire thirty minute sermon. What I discovered when taken in context – that sentence became irrelevant! I should not have followed the social media craze which was more than anything media distortion. Therefore, I offer a sincere apologizes to this man. I have added the full sermon, which had a more powerful and meaningful message.

I read somewhere that forgiveness is mine saith the Lord. Therefore, I judge not this man for any of his indiscretions; for that is his cross to bear. Right is right and the media craze was wrong – this time! He who is without sin case the first stone! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Listen and see for yourself.


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