Our ancestors are watching because it’s our turn to pay it forward.
I feel the weight of those who fought for my right to vote on my shoulders every time I vote. It is a heavy weight, built on their sacrifice for my right to do so. There are so many who advocated, marched, and even died for African Americans’ right to vote, and no sacrifice was greater than Medgar Evers.
Medgar Evers was born in Decatur, Mississippi in 1925. He was a World War II veteran who was pressed into advocacy upon his return home. He and a few fellow Black veterans soon registered to vote in their hometown but were turned away and denied access to the polls by local White citizens. He turned his anger into advocacy when he became the filed secretary for the Jackson, Mississippi NAACP where, for eight years, he led the fight for civil rights long denied to Blacks in his state. On the morning of June 12, 1963, he returned home from a meeting with civil rights attorneys. His three young children announced to their mother that his dad had returned home. As Medgar exited his car, rifle shots were fired striking him. Medgar stumbled toward his house where he was met by his wife, Myrlie. He was taken to the local hospital where he was at first refused admission because he was Black. His wife pleaded for assistance, finally imploring the hospital to help him given his status in the NAACP. He was the first Black person to have ever been admitted to the hospital. He died 50 minutes later. He was 37.
This election is not just about your right to vote. Civil rights include the right to health care, housing, economic, and social justice.
“I was born in Decatur, was raised there, but never in my life was permitted to vote there.” –Medgar Evers
Your ancestors are calling. Pay it forward. Vote.
Shiela Y. Moore
614 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139