Latest News and Comment from Education

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Remembering Medgar Evers

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Remembering Medgar Evers

Remembering Medgar Evers

Bob Dylan at civil rights gathering in Greenwood, Mississippi in 1963, singing ‘Only a Pawn in Their Game'.
On this day in 1963, Medgar Evers, Mississippi’s first field secretary for the NAACP, was gunned down in his Jackson driveway just as he proclaimed, “you can kill a man, but you can’t kill an idea.”

Medgar Evers
It was Byron De La Beckwith Jr., a white supremacist, and Klansman from Greenwood, Mississippi who assassinated the civil rights leader. Two trials in 1964 on this charge resulted in hung juries.  Some justice was finally achieved when Beckwith was convicted and given a life sentence by a racially diverse jury in 1994. He died in prison in 2001 at the age of 80.

The killing of Medgar Evers' inspired Bob Dylan to write, "Only a Pawn in Their Game" which he performed at the March on Washington in August of that year. 
The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man's used in the hands of them all like a tool
He's taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
The song resonated with the millions who heard it and who came to understand that behind the actual shooters and lynchers stood a whole system of oppression and racial injustice.

Today, 57 years later, only the names have changed, Floyd for Evers, Chauvin for Beckwith. 

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Remembering Medgar Evers