It’s been 50 years since Medgar Evers was murdered in front of his home in Jackson, Mississippi, but the pain is still raw for his widow, Myrlie Evers Williams. In a series of interviews, she has recounted the pain of her loss, and recently walked a group of reporters, including from theGrio, through the house where she lived with Medgar and their two children, and where he died.
VIDEO: Medgar’s murder at 50
Now, Evers Williams is revealing new information about the days leading up to the June 12, 1963 murder. In an interview with Make It Plain’s Matsimela Mapfumo (Mark Thompson), Evers talked about her husband’s emotional reaction to the NAACP denying extra security for him and his family, even as he became number one on the “kill list” of Mississippi white supremacist groups. And she revealed that the current leader of the NAACP offered her an apology on behalf of the civil rights organization.
“This is something that I have just revealed publicly in this 50th Anniversary, where representatives from the NAACP national office were visiting [ackson, MS],” an emotional Evers Williams told Thompson. “And some of the leaders asked for support, financial support to help hire someone or ones to be with Medgar to better secure his safety. And I know the quote from memory from that time, and it was, ‘We have better things to do with our money than to pay someone to be with him.’ That I will never forget. That I have not revealed until this time and this moment. And I’m glad that I have the strength to say it, because it speaks to the difficulty that we as people had during that particular time and how everybody did not think the same way.”
“I know Medgar, in his fatigue, came home that night after that discussion, and sat down and cried,” she continued. “He was very hurt by it, but he had made his decision. And the message was that the national NAACP did not care about him. They just wanted more memberships and what not. Being his wife and the mother of his children, I asked God to help me relieve that from my heart. But up until this point I have never been able to let go of that.”
Discussing a recent NAACP Board luncheon in Jackson, Evers Williams said that current NAACP President Ben Jealous “put his speech aside, and he stood there and he said, ‘I have an apology to make.’ And he apologized to me and my daughter and other family members for what the Association leadership, top leadership said to Medgar and the way they treated him. And how very shortly after that, just a few days, he was taken from us. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place at that time. Because people didn’t know. It’s something only a few of us knew. I never wanted to hurt the organization in any way.”
Listen to an excerpt of the “Make it Plain” interview:
And hear the entire interview: