Wednesday, June 12, 2013

50th Anniversary of Medgar Evers' Assassination

Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers. Both Minrose Gwin, REMEMBERING MEDGAR EVERS, and Frank X Walker, TURN ME LOOSE, are in Jackson, MS, participating in several days' worth of events commemorating Medgar Evers. The Medgar & Myrlie Evers Institute is hosting most of these events. More information about the institute and order of events is here.

Gwin and Walker will also be doing a joint talk and signing at Square Books in Oxford, MS on Friday at 5:00pm.

Check out this ABC News story for more on Medgar Evers and his life in pictures.

On June 12, 1963, Evers was assassinated in the driveway of his Mississippi home by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith. The first NAACP field secretary for Mississippi, Evers's death was the first assassination of a high-ranking public figure in the civil rights movement.


In REMEMBERING MEDGAR EVERS, Gwin compiles together an impressive collection of fiction, poetry, memoir, drama, and songs that emerged in response to Evers's life and death. Gwin examines local news accounts about Evers, 1960s gospel and protest music as well as contemporary hip-hop, the haunting poems of Frank X Walker, and contemporary fiction such as The Help and Gwin’s own novel, The Queen of Palmyra. In this study, Evers springs to life as a leader of “plural singularity,” who modeled for southern African Americans a new form of cultural identity that both drew from the past and broke from it.

When speaking of REMEMBERING MEDGAR EVERS, Myrlie Evers-Williams said, "This is a book that should be widely read, shared with others, and placed in a spot of honor in every library. It tells important and all-too-often forgotten stories of the times with clarity and passion. It is a treasure."

TURN ME LOOSE by Frank X Walker

The poems in TURN ME LOOSE unleash the strong emotions both before and after the moment of assassination and take on the voices of Evers's widow, Myrlie; his brother, Charles; his assassin, Byron De La Beckwith; and each of De La Beckwith's two wives. Except for the book's title, "Turn me loose," which were his final words, Evers remains in this collection silent.

To recognize today's anniversary, the Press is giving away two advance reader copies of TURN ME LOOSE. To enter the drawing to win a copy of the book, email your  mailing address to You have until 9:00am EDT tomorrow (June 13th) to enter.* The two winners will be notified via email.

*One entry per person please.