AMERICA UNDERCOVER: SOUTHERN JUSTICE: THE MURDER OF MEDGAR EVERS (TV)

Summary

One in this series of documentaries presented by HBO. This program looks at the murder of civil-rights leader Medgar Evers and the thirty-year struggle to bring his killer to justice. Narrated by civil-rights pioneer Julian Bond, the events are told through interviews with Evers's widow, Myrlie Evers; Byron De La Beckwith, the convicted killer; and assorted family members and friends. Events and topics examined include the following, among others: Evers's and Beckwith's upbringings and the jobs they both had while living relatively close to one another; the over 500 lynchings that occured in the state of Mississippi over a seventy-year period; how the presence of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) throughout Mississippi and other Southern states helped insure that black people never got a chance to vote; the fact that Beckwith was not a member of the KKK but belonged to a similiar white supremicist group known as the Citizens' Council Forum, which had a television program to convey its racial message; how Evers quit his job as an insurance salesman in order to go to Jackson and investigate the disappearance of a fourteen-year-old Chicago boy named Emmett Till; how Evers subsequently uncovered the crime and became a legend in certain areas of the capital because he stood up to the KKK's threats; the Jackson government's decision to go after Evers instead of investigating the KKK for the brutal killing of the boy; the young Freedom Riders from the North, both black and white, who came south to demonstrate against segregation; Medgar Evers's organization of a boycott in 1963 of all stores along one highway because they wouldn't hire blacks; how Evers's name surfaced on a list made up by the KKK known as "The Death List"; evidence that the government of Mississippi had a similiar list with Evers at the top; how one by one civil-rights leaders were killed by the KKK as well as by the local police; June 11, 1963, the day on which both President John F. Kennedy gave a speech about segregation and Evers was shot to death; how the rifle used in the killing was traced to Beckwith, who claimed he was almost 100 miles away at the time; the 1964 trial of Beckwith, who was a self-proclaimed racist, in which the jury could not reach a verdict; Beckwith's second trial which also resulted in a hung jury; Myrlie Evers's move to California to escape the memories of Mississippi; the testimony of a former KKK member, who is now on the KKK's death list, that Beckwith planned the killing and later bragged about it; and how a year later a grand jury was called to hear the new evidence and Beckwith was found guilty of killing Evers and sentenced to life in prison.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by The Marc Haas and Helen Hotze Haas Foundation

Details

  • NETWORK: HBO
  • DATE: July 11, 1994 Monday 10:05 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:06:03
  • COLOR/B&W: Color/B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T:40526
  • GENRE: Public affairs/Documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: African-American Collection - News/Talk
  • SERIES RUN: HBO - TV series, 1983-2006
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Paul Hamann … Executive Producer
    • Sheila Nevins … Executive Producer
    • Christopher Olgiati … Producer, Director, Writer
    • Elaine Davenport … Associate Producer
    • Jonathan Moss … Associate Producer
    • Mark T. White … Music by
    • Julian Bond … Narrator
    • Sam Bailey
    • Beckwith, Byron De La
    • Thelma Beckwith
    • C.C. Bryant
    • Delmar Dennis
    • Felix Dunn
    • Charles Evers
    • Medgar Evers
    • Myrlie Evers
    • Reena Evers
    • Dovie Hudson
    • Winson Hudson
    • Ed King
    • William Osborne
    • Ernest White