The Autobiography of Medgar Evers is the first and only comprehensive collection of the words of slain civil rights hero Medgar Evers. Evers became a leader of the civil rights movement during the late 1950s and early 1960s. He established NAACP chapters throughout the Mississippi delta region, and eventually became the NAACP's first field secretary in Mississippi. Myrlie Evers-Williams, Medgar's widow, partnered with Manning Marable, one of the country's leading black scholars, to develop this book based on the previously untouched cache of Medgar's personal documents and writings. These writings range from Medgar's monthly reports to the NAACP to his correspondence with luminaries of the time such as Robert Carter, General Counsel for the NAACP in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. Still, most moving of all, is the preface written by Myrlie Evers.
In an era filled with charismatic leaders, Evers (1925 1963) came to national attention primarily as the victim of "the first political assassination of a major leader of the modern Black Freedom Movement." As NAACP field secretary in Mississippi, Evers recruited NAACP members, desegregated schools, registered voters and organized boycotts. The work was usually undramatic, but always perilous. Evers's widow and historian Marable seek to redress Evers's relative absence from the historical record. But more than half of these 89 documents (from the years 1954 1963) are mundane monthly reports to or business correspondence with the NAACP. Ten Evers speeches are included along with eight newspaper articles, four press releases, a telegram to Eisenhower and one to Kennedy, an NAACP newsletter, a "text fragment," a posthumous Life interview. There's no clue to the principle of selection. With the exception of two very brief notes to his family, there is no personal correspondence. This monument is a tomb ready for excavation by historians of the Civil Rights movement, but it's not for the ordinary reader looking for an autobiography of Medgar Evers. It reveals the quotidian work rather than the indomitable man.