Renowned civil rights activist Medgar Wiley Evers was awarded the 48th NAACP Spingarn Medal on July 4, 1963, for his unwavering commitment and courage to the fight for racial justice in the U.S.
Prior to his work with the NAACP, Evers served in the U.S. military during World War II and earned an honorable discharge in 1946.
Evers was appointed as the NAACP’s first field secretary in Mississippi. He quickly became one of the state’s most instrumental civil rights activists when he called for law enforcement investigations into the 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till.
In addition to his work for equality in the legal justice system, Evers also organized voter-registration efforts and boycotts against companies that practiced discrimination.
The buzz surrounding Evers’ work with the NAACP made him a target for those against desegregation. On June 12, 1963, Evers was assassinated with a bullet shot through his back while in the driveway of his home.
Evers was buried with full military honors in the Arlington National Cemetery.
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(Photo: Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)