It was on June 21, 1964 that Byron De La Beckwith was charged with the murder of Medgar Evers, but it would not be until 30 years later that he would be found guilty. Who was Medgar Evers, according to biography.com he was, “a civil rights activist who organized voter-registration efforts, demonstrations and boycotts of companies that practiced discrimination”. It continues to discuss how he attempted to get into law school, but was not successful, this raised his profile within the NAACP, and not long later the famous Brown v. Board of Education decision integrated schools. “Later the same year, Evers became the first field secretary for the NAACP in Mississippi.” It was because of the high-profile position he held within the NAACP that he became a target, and on June 12, 1963 that he was shot in the back at his home. He was shot by Byron De La Beckwith in a case that would take decades to try.
Byron De LA Beckwith was, according to history.com, “a fertilizer salesman and Ku Klux Klan member. He was widely believed to be the killer of Medgar Evers, however two all-white, all-male juries deadlocked, and refused to convict”. It was the widow of Mr. Evers, Myrlie Evers, who pressed authorities on the murder. History.com continues with showing how, “in 1989, documents came to light showing that jurors were illegally screened”. It would take another four years before Byron De La Beckwith would go to trial, and be convicted. “He died in prison in 2001 at the age of 80.”
Today is International Women’s Day, originally known as International Working Women’s Day, and was started in the 1900’s with women who felt oppression and inequality were an issue. More than one hundred years later, they are still fighting some of the same battles, and while it may not be the same as it was, there is still inequality in pay, and jobs among other things. I would like to highlight some of the women who have been leading the fight for women:
Sojourner Truth- Well known for her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech, she changed her name in 1843 from Isabella Baumfree to Sojourner Truth and devoted the remainder of her life to Methodism and abolition. In 1851 she delivered her famous speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention, and appeared in print 12 years later. I found the next passage on the biography.com website. “As Truth’s reputation grew and the abolition movement gained momentum, she drew increasingly larger and more hospitable audiences. Even in abolitionist circles, some of Truth’s opinions were considered radical. She sought political equality for all women, and chastised the abolitionist community for failing to seek civil rights for black women as well as men.”
Susan B. Anthony- Is one of the most well-known activists of history, and in 1853 she started campaigning for married women’s property rights, and in 1856 joined the American Anti-Slavery Society. After the Civil War ended Anthony, “refused to support any suffrage amendments to the Constitution unless they granted the franchise to women as well as men”.
Joan Baez- A well-known folk singer, and activist, she sung “We Shall Overcome” which was written by Pete Seeger and Guy Carawan during the March on Washington for jobs and freedom in 1963, and then at various other occasions. According to the website The Famous People, “In the 1970’s she played a major role in the founding of the US section of Amnesty International. She also formed ‘Humanitas International’ due to her deep interest in human rights.”
Malala Yousafzai- The last amazing woman I will touch on for this article. The youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, she was shot in the head by the Taliban for her effort to promote education for girls in Pakistan. Since recovering from her surgery she has taken her campaign to the world stage. You can find a history of her journey on the CNN website.