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June 12, 1973 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-06-12

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Page Eight


Tuesday, June 12, 1973


Associated Press Writer
JACKSON, Miss. - In the be-
ginning, when the word was
"Never," a man armed with a
.30-06 caliber rifle hid in a clump
of bushes on a vacant lot here
and tried to kill a crusade witht
a bullet.
Fired 10 years ago, that futile
shot still echoes in Mississippi
IT MADE A civil rights mar-
tyr out of black leader Medgar
Evers, whose death will be mark-
ed by a memorial festival at the
coliseum here tonight.
It helped make a governor out
of William Waller, who was an MARTYR BROT
ambitious 37-year-old district at- Evers. After Med
torney in Jackson at the time gave up his racy
Evers was slain. and went south b
And it recalled to Mississippi, rights movement.

has changed
Medgar's big brother, Charles, but traditio
Evers, a burly six-footer with a governor. H
tough-looking face, shrewd eyes and also stat
and a talent for making money ic committ
and politics. nowadays fl
HE HAD GONE to Chicago to shopping ce
set up a stable of prostitutes, taurant.
operate a policy gambling game, "MEDGAJ
sell bootleg whisky, teach school me," said E
- and just about anything else The same
that would make a buck. Mississippi.
Switched from rackets to race, he assassi
Charles Evers was the r i g h t baricby Pre
S man in the right place. was one of,
He refined the boycott into a which wroun
weapon that made strict mainten- the state du
ance of racial segregation a IT HAPP
losing proposition for Mississippi midnight on
ER, Charles business, worked up to a first feverish yes
's death, he name basis with many of the na- It was a t
s in Chicago tion's political great and near- "Freedom1
oin the civil great; won a race for mayor of versity of M
Fayette, pop., 1,750; yost a brash black studer

te is still
te national D
eeman. His
lows from a
nter, motel
might be sa
ination, ter
sident JohnF
the traumat
ght deep ch
ring the past
ENED shor
June 12, 1
ar here.
time of "sit-
Riders." T
ississippi had
nt, James I

to j4




10 years
race for guarded day and night by U.S.
mayor - marshals and soldiers. Protest
emocrat- marches were frequent.
income Medgar Evers, state field sec-
Fayette retary for the National Assoca-
and res- tion for the Advancement of Col-
ored People, drove home from
changed such a rally and stepped from his
aid about "THERE WAS the sound of a
car door closing and then there
ned bar- was this loud blast," recalled
Kennedy, Mrs. Myrlie Evers, who was in
ic events the living room. "After that, a
ange in terrible silence."
t decade. Medgar Evers died before they
tly after could get him to a hospital. He
963 - a was 37.
In Chicago, a stunned Charles
ins" and Evers dropped his rackets a n d
he Uni- flew home to beat down opposi-
d its first tion from NAACP leaders and
Meredith, take over Medgar's job as state
--field secretary.
ELEVEN DAYS after the shoot-
ing, the FBI arrested Byron De
La Beckwith, a daner 42-vear-old
fertilizer salesman who lived in
Gr wood, Miss. He was brought
to Jkson, charged with murder.
Cvnics, enecislly black ones,
wc astonished by the trial.
Disdining the annarent noliti
al temoer of the times, Dist.
Atto. Waler nrosected Beck-
with to the hilt-twice.
BOTH TRALS ended with hbng
J-res. The mistrials came as
a shok to those who expected
"I'd say we won a conviction,"
said Gov. Waler, looking back at
his most famous court case dur-
ing a conversation in his big
Capitol office, a comfortable
beige room enriched by leather
upholstery, gleaming silver and
golden drapes.
There were those who agreed,
though the case against Beck-
with wond up remanded to the
file, where it remains in limbo.
BECKWITH is still a salesman,
having switched from fertilizer to
Though he didn't attend the
trials, Charles Eers remembers
them well.
"What Waller did was very un-
usal for that time," he said.
"THAT'S WHY I guess that
deep down inside I will always
have a tender feeling for Waller,
no matter how bad he beat me
in the governor's race."
Change - outward change, at
least - is on every side.
Evers, whose paneled office is
hung with big blowup photo-
graphs of his campaigns, s a i d
the mere fact that Waller is now
governor shows how much white
attitudes had changed.
"HERE'S A MAN who tried to
convict a white man charged with
kiling the state's most hated
black man," he said. "Then he
can turn around less than 10
years later and run for gover-
nor and win."
The scene now includes dese-
gregated schools, black patrons
in "white" restaurants, 300,000
black voters . .
One of Mayor Evers' bitter me-
mories is that election arithmetic
showed that a third of those
black voters cast their ballots for
the white candidate when Evers,
running as an Independent, -lost
to Waller in the 1971 gubernator-
ial race.
BUT THERE are a growing
number of elected black officials.
Two more black mayors were
elected last week, relieving
Evers of his newspaper title of
The Only Blac Mayor of a Bi-
racial Town in Mississippi.
To Evers, a veteran of days
when civil rights workers faced
danger, the most fundamental
and revealing change is that no
one appears interested in killing

him these days.
about keeping a gun handy on all
"I feel safer going all over the
state. of Mississipitan Ieelt
walking down any avenue in New
York, Chicago, Detroit or New
Orleans," he said.
"This state has changed enough
to where I'd rather live in
Mississippi than walk in New
- York one night."

TU1E WATER ACT of 1899
made it unlawful "to throw, discharge, or deposit any refuse
matter of any kind or description whatever into any navigable
water of the United States." The only exception is when a
permit to pollute is obtained from the Army Corps of Engi-
kJ 0 TO 0
ADAY $ 59O
The law makes every individual and corporate polluter
subject to a fine of 500 to 2,500 dollars for each day of the
And whoever catches the polluter can get half the fine as
a reward.
There are over 40,000 industrial polluting plants in this
country operating outside the law.
If you want to know how to catch them write for The
Bounty Hunters' Guide on Water Pollution, The Project on
Clean Water, Natural Resources Defense Council, 36 West 44th
Street, New York, N.Y. 10036.
The best way to fight water pollution is to make your
own waves,
Prepared by thi Stern Concern. Space contributed by The Michigan Daily

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