Last night Nas’ song If I Ruled the World kept playing back in my head after a long discussion with a friend of mine about Medgar Evers. Today marks the anniversary of the day that civil rights leader Medgar Evers was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1963, Evers was shot in the back of the head in Mississippi by Byron De La Beckwith, a Ku Klux Klan and White Citizens’ Council member.
Prior to his assassination, Medgar Evers was denied entrance into the University of Mississippi’s Law School because of his race and shortly thereafter became an integral player in the NAACP’s mission to desegregate schools.
Beckwith was found innocent of the murder several times and was finally convicted in 1994 and sentenced to life in prison. Now, if I was Nas and I ruled the world, justice would have prevailed much sooner than the 30 years of freedom Beckwith enjoyed prior to his conviction, and then, I’d free all my sons and daughters who have received sentences that don’t fit their crimes or have been wrongfully convicted of crimes that they did not commit.
Mr. Evers set us on to equal access to education. And, although the game is still not being played on equal playing field, as evidenced by the ongoing battles for affirmative action and the Dream Act, more and more people are ensuring that Mr. Evers did not die in vain. In the words of the chorus in Nas’ song, “now we can walk right up to the sun hand in hand” and continue the struggle that Medgar Evers gave his life for by ensuring that each of our Black, Brown, Asian, White, LGTBQ and Indigenous Diamonds and Pearls have equal access to education, housing, health care, jobs – and the list goes on…
To learn more about Medgar Evers visit http://www.africawithin.com/bios/medgar_evers.htm
Link to Nas’ Youtube video -