Shortly after midnight on June 12, 1963, civil rights activist Medgar Evers was assassinated in the carport of the home that he shared with his wife Myrlie Evers and their three young children in Jackson, Mississippi. His death, the first murder of a nationally significant leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, heightened public awareness of civil rights issues and became a catalyst for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Medgar and Myrlie Evers were partners in the civil rights struggle. Named the first field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Mississippi in 1955, Medgar Evers was the public face of the organization. He helped African Americans register to vote, promoted school desegregation, and investigated racially motivated murders.
Myrlie Evers worked behind the scenes, running the NAACP field office and providing personal and logistical support for her husband and other civil rights workers. Their efforts came at a time when white supremacists—state and local governments as well as individuals—used methods ranging from economic intimidation to lynching in order to punish those who challenged segregation, and advocated for political and social rights.
The Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home links the couple’s work to a tangible place. Civil rights work was all-consuming, and the house was an extension of the NAACP office. The couple hosted civil rights workers, sheltered African Americans threatened by white supremacists, endured death threats that arrived by telephone and mail, and lived with constant danger even as they raised three children.
Built in 1956, the house is in Jackson’s Elraine Subdivision, the first post-World War II subdivision created for middle-class African Americans in Mississippi. The very design of the house where a sniper murdered Medgar Evers tells a powerful story of the dangers that the civil rights couple faced and the efforts they made to protect their family. To enhance security, the couple chose to forego a front door in favor of a side entrance sheltered by a carport. They placed furniture in front of windows to block gunfire in case of an attack. The entire Evers family was prepared for the possibility of violence, and Evers taught his children how to crawl infantry-style on the floor to the bathroom if they heard strange noises.
Last updated: September 26, 2018