Ghosts Of Mississippi


Ghosts Of Mississippi Essay, Research Paper

On the night of June 13th 1963, President John F. Kennedy was giving his speech on Civil Rights. Among the many thousands of people in America viewing this event on National Television were Myrlie Evers and her three children. Suddenly, this occurrence was rudely disrupted by the deathly sound of a loud gunshot. Frantically running to their driveway, Myrlie and the kids found Medgar Evers shot in the back and lying in a pool of blood gasping for his last breath. Myrlie clung on to her husband s body as she and the children wept for this man s life. Almost thirty years later, the man charged with this murder would be tried again in a court of law, in front of a different jury of eight blacks and four whites. Justice was going to be served in the state of Mississippi no matter how long it was going to take.

This murder case was tried in the racist state of Mississippi in the racist period of 1963. The judge was also a racist white man by the name of Moore and the jury consisted of twelve men. All white. Much evidence was presented to the court, such as the gun used to kill Medgar Evers consisting of fingerprints belonging to the convicted, Byron de la Beckwith. Byron and his vehicle were also spotted at the parking lot of Joe s Drive-thru, a block away from the Evers household, on the night of the murder. On the other hand, two white men, Holly and Cresswell, claimed to have witnessed Byron de la Beckwith at a gas station in Greenwood, 90-95 miles away from the scene, on the same night. This case was tried twice ending both times in a hung jury, leaving Byron innocent and free of charge.

Twenty-six years later, on October 1989, Myrlie Evers seeks to reopen the Medgar Evers case. A Mississippi lawyer named Bobby Delaughter, the son-in-law of Judge Moore, slowly took this task into his hands and dug up information and such on this forgotten trial. Upon making this decision, his wife leaves him, but he later remarries the doctor who took care of his son, who was hit by a little racist white boy. Delaughter discovers that all of the evidence from the actual trial are missing. He searches in Judge Moore s office in his home and finds the gun that shot Evers. He also finds a man with unfriendly relations with Beckwith stating in his book, Klandestine, that Beckwith pronounce after his trial on August 8th, 1965, that Killing a nigger gave me no more inner discomfort than our wives endure while giving birth. I had a job to do and I did it. You re going to get away with it like I did.

With many white men against Bobby Delaughter, he experiences many threats as well and got a bomb threat on his house one night in January 1994. The first trial took place a couple of days later and Myrlie was the first witness to take the stand. She retells her experience and is saddened by the painful memories. During the second trial, many more witnesses, including the two white males who falsely testified to seeing Beckwith in Greenwood, 90-95 miles away, at a gas station on the night of the murder. When the jury finally came back in from an extremely long discussion or argument rather, the verdict was presented. Byron de la Beckwith was finally found guilty of the crime he most definitely committed on June 13th, 1963. Justice was served!

The three main characters in this movie were Myrlie Evers, Bobby Delaughter, and Byron de la Beckwith. Myrlie Evers, the faithful wife of Medgar Evers, was his secretary for the Mississippi NAACP and supported Medgar in all of his demonstrations, boycotts, protests, speeches, and much more. She was a devoted wife who was proud of her heroic husband, but also lived in fear for Medgar s life. When she heard the gunshot outside of her Mississippi driveway in 1963, she cried and mourned, for the white men took her husband and her children s daddy. Though she had a strong desire to kill the murderer, she passed those feelings and just remembered what Medgar used to tell her. He would say, Those who hate are the only ones getting hurt. She testified during the trial in 63 but was pained when de la Beckwith was freed by a hung jury. Demanding justice, she had the case re-opened in 1990 and Beckwith was finally found guilty as charged. A year after the verdict on February 1995, Myrlie was elected chairman of the NAACP in Oregon where she now lives.

Bobby Delaughter was the amazing lawyer in Mississippi who prosecuted Beckwith again over 25 years later. Not only did he risk his life in doing this, but he also lost his wife who disapproved of him taking this case. Her father was the judge who was present during the Medgar Evers case in 1963, and she believed that Bobby would be disgracing her family and herself in doing this. Bobby visited the old Evers home a few times and was deeply affected, for he also had three young children and was 37 years old, the age when Medgar died. He knew he had to take this case and he did all he could to find evidence and old witnesses. Not only did he find the exact murder weapon used to kill Evers, but he also won the case when Beckwith was found guilty. On November 1994, a few months after the verdict, Delaughter ran for the judge of Mississippi Court of Appeals but was defeated. He remains with the Llinds County District Attorney s office.

Byron de la Beckwith was the man who fired the bullet and killed Medgar Evers on the night of June 13th, 1963. He was a Mississippi native who hated blacks, Jews, and basically anyone who was not white. He declared that White men were put in the earth to rule and he said that niggers needed to go. When he was accused of the crime in 63, he was found innocent because of a hung jury. He later declared in speeches that he was glad to kill the nigga (he) had a job to do and (he) did it. A former acquaintance of his also stated that Beckwith was a crazy man and still is. Almost thirty years later, Byron de la Beckwith was tried again for the same reason and was found guilty of murder. He was rightfully sentenced to life imprisonment.

Bobby Delaughter re-opened the Byron de la Beckwith case and tried to bring justice back into the state of Mississippi, where it had not been served over twenty-five years ago. In doing this, he was able to make a large contribution to civil rights. He knew that a murder committed, weather it be yesterday, today, or a hundred years ago, couldn t go unnoticed and the perpetrator needed to be punished for the wrongdoing. Myrlie also contributed to civil rights by requesting to re-open the Beckwith case and continued to fight for the imprisonment of her husband s murderer. Ironically, Byron de la Beckwith also did his part by agreeing to go back to court after so many years and participating in the entire process once again. As for human rights, de la Beckwith displayed this by just going back to court and finishing this trial. Delaughter, on the other hand, sought out to bring peace in to the life of Myrlie Evers and stressed the fact that no human being has the right to take away a husband an a father to three little children. Myrlie did not allow a man to get away with a very evil crime and made sure that she went that extra mile for her husband, Medgar.

This powerful movie or historical event rather, truly affects us now even though it took place in 1963 and 1994. We must look at this situation and realize the wrongdoing and the hatred that filled the people s hearts during that time. It is important that we do not repeat such a terrible event in history and respect everyone no matter what race, ethnicity, background, or religion. This should definitely open our eyes and awaken us to keep justice in our country and unite us, Americans, in the battle of equality.

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