Mississippi politico, civil rights figure Charles Evers dies

Charles Evers | Source: WLBT

Charles Evers, the older brother of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers and a longtime figure in Mississippi politics, has died in Mississippi.

Posted: Jul 22, 2020 4:11 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Charles Evers, the older brother of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers and a longtime figure in Mississippi politics, died Wednesday. He was 97.

Evers died of “natural causes” at a home in the Jackson, Mississippi, suburb of Brandon, where he was surrounded by relatives, Rankin County Coroner David Ruth told The Associated Press. Ruth said the cause of death was not the coronavirus, and no autopsy is planned.

Charles and Medgar Evers both served in the military during World War II, and they became active in the NAACP when they returned to their home state of Mississippi and continued to face discrimination.

Medgar Evers had been field secretary for the Mississippi NAACP for more than eight years when he was assassinated outside his Jackson home in June 1963. In 1968, a former fertilizer salesman and self-avowed white supremacist, Byron De La Beckwith, went on trial twice in the killing, but all-white juries deadlocked and did not convict him.

The case was later revived, and a jury of eight African Americans and four white people convicted Beckwith of murder in 1994. The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld that conviction in 1997.

“Before, the killer of a Black man would go free. Now we know you just can’t go out and kill a Black man or woman and nothing is done,” Charles Evers said after that Supreme Court decision. “Justice finally came.”

Charles Evers was appointed to lead the Mississippi NAACP after his brother was killed. In 1969, he was elected mayor of the southwestern Mississippi town of Fayette, becoming the first Black mayor of a multiracial town in the state since Reconstruction.

During his widely varied career, Charles Evers ran several businesses in Chicago and Mississippi. A Mississippi Blues Trail marker commemorates his career as a concert promoter with blues legend B.B. King, and it notes that Charles Evers was once in the bootleg liquor business.

Charles Evers ran unsuccessfully for an open U.S. House seat as a Democrat in 1968. He served on the Democratic National Committee in the mid-1970s.

He ran as an independent for Mississippi governor in 1971 and for a U.S. Senate seat in 1978. Although he lost those elections, Evers influenced the outcome of the Senate race by drawing support away from the Democratic candidate. That led to a victory by Republican Thad Cochran, who later became chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee and remained in the Senate until early 2018.

Evers endorsed Ronald Reagan for president in 1980, and served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1996. He publicly supported Democrat Barack Obama for president in 2008 and 2012. After the 2016 presidential election, Evers cast one of Mississippi's six electoral votes for Republican Donald Trump. Evers described himself then as an “independent Republican.”

“I’m a great believer in earning something. Democrats always want to give away something,” Evers said after the electors voted.

He said he is a longtime supporter of Trump.

“He’s a multimillionaire,” Evers said. “I like rich folks. Can’t nobody buy him.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111322

Reported Deaths: 3202
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7751171
DeSoto663677
Harrison481181
Jackson431978
Rankin380886
Madison371792
Lee341379
Forrest295177
Jones283182
Washington251497
Lafayette241742
Lauderdale2344130
Lamar214938
Bolivar198075
Oktibbeha194654
Neshoba1806111
Lowndes173962
Panola165136
Leflore160086
Sunflower157449
Warren152154
Monroe144872
Pontotoc143519
Pike136455
Lincoln134854
Copiah134636
Marshall132626
Scott123229
Coahoma123136
Grenada120137
Simpson118148
Yazoo117233
Union113925
Holmes113260
Tate112739
Leake112239
Itawamba109024
Pearl River108256
Adams104342
Prentiss101619
Wayne98521
Alcorn95512
George93517
Marion93242
Covington91625
Tippah85120
Newton84227
Chickasaw82024
Tallahatchie81825
Winston81521
Tishomingo79040
Hancock76927
Attala76525
Clarke71448
Clay67221
Jasper66616
Walthall63327
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith58116
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence49514
Yalobusha48414
Perry48022
Carroll46012
Greene45317
Stone45014
Amite41513
Quitman4136
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39411
Webster36513
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31815
Benton3054
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26310
Franklin2303
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22400372
Mobile14282314
Tuscaloosa9983132
Montgomery9691196
Madison899992
Shelby703560
Lee643966
Baldwin637567
Marshall426748
Calhoun410259
Etowah402049
Morgan394532
Houston363132
DeKalb316727
Elmore309552
St. Clair279742
Limestone269227
Walker268092
Talladega255034
Cullman225823
Lauderdale206340
Autauga199928
Franklin199131
Jackson199114
Colbert190627
Russell19023
Dallas185227
Blount183823
Chilton180531
Escambia170928
Covington164729
Coffee16409
Dale162551
Pike130212
Chambers127343
Tallapoosa127286
Clarke126716
Marion104229
Butler99840
Barbour9819
Marengo96721
Winston89913
Geneva8337
Pickens80317
Randolph79514
Lawrence79230
Bibb78913
Hale74529
Cherokee71514
Clay70712
Lowndes69927
Bullock63517
Henry6316
Monroe6279
Washington62112
Crenshaw59030
Perry5796
Wilcox55712
Conecuh55413
Fayette54712
Macon52919
Cleburne5247
Sumter46421
Lamar4575
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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