Unit Four. Week Two, 5/30. 400 Souls: Reflecting on a Community History of African America.
Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Teach Out Gathering Time
Sunday, May 30. 5:00-7:00pm PST
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/98440287294
Meeting ID: 984 4028 7294
400 souls: reflecting on a community history of african america
we convene in honor of medger evers
in the driveway outside his home in Jackson, Mississippi - on June 12, 1963 - Black civil rights leader Medgar Evers was shot and killed by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith.
during World War II, Evers volunteered for the US Army and participated in the Normandy invasion. in 1952, he joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). as a field worker for the NAACP, and eventually field secretary for the state of Mississippi, Evers encouraged poor African Americans to register to vote and recruited many into the civil rights movement. he organized the "Biloxi wade-ins" to protest the segregation of city public beaches on the Mississippi coast.
Evers was a leader in working with James Meredith's efforts to enroll as the first Black student at the University of Mississippi in the early 1960s. he was instrumental in investigating and getting witness testimony and evidence for the Emmett Till murder case, which brought national attention to Black freedom movements across the South.
after a funeral in Jackson, Mississippi, Evers was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. President John F. Kennedy and many other leaders publicly condemned his murder. in 1964, the first trial of chief suspect Byron De La Beckwith ended deadlocked by an all-white jury, sparking numerous protests. when a second all-white jury also failed to reach a decision, De La Beckwith was set free.
three decades later, the state of Mississippi reopened the case under pressure from civil rights leaders and Evers’ family. in February 1994, a racially diverse jury in Jackson found De La Beckwith guilty of murder. the unrepentant white supremacist, aged 73, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
De La Beckwith died in 2001, unapologetic for his murder of Evers.
we dedicate this week’s gathering and study of The Teach Out to the memory of Medger Evers, and to the many movement leaders violently harmed and killed for their work radically transforming our communities. may he, and they, rest in power.
our week two reading
four hundred souls: part two
our weekly provocations
1. Discussion questions for Four Hundred Souls, Part Two (below)
2. Interview with Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain about Four Hundred Souls, Washington Post Live, February 2021 (31:41)
3. An Open Letter from Douglas Kearney (May 25, 2020)