Interview with Myrlie Evers
QUESTION 12
INTERVIEWER:

OK I'D LIKE YOU TO PICK IT UP WITH—YOU WERE DESCRIBING QUALITIES ABOUT HIM. HE WAS A RABBLE-ROUSER HE WAS A CERTAIN TYPE OF PERSON.

Myrlie Evers:

I asked people on the campus about Medgar, who was he, what was he, and they said, "Oh, he's a rabble-rouser." I said, "What is—what is a rabble-rouser?" "Well, you know, he's always talking about registering and voting, and he's always talking about, you know, our rights and our responsibilities. We don't have time for that, you know, he never attends any of the fraternity, activities, and what-not." But I found out that Medgar was voted one of the most popular men on campus, that he was the junior president of his class, that he was the editor of the newspaper, and also editor of the annual student album. So with those qualities, I said, he has to be a leader. I basically was looking for someone like that anyway. I wanted somebody who was strong. I wanted someone who knew who he was and someone who was responsible. Medgar and I would talk occasionally. Then we started dating, and I think I was a pretty good listener, and he was a good talker. He would tell me what he wanted. He let me know in no uncertain terms, that he was going to have four children. He let me know in no uncertain terms, that I was going to be his wife. For a seventeen-year-old, it kind of threw you off guard that someone would come to you and say that almost on your second date, second, or third date. So I made a determination that he was a man who knew what he wanted, who was outspoken, and indeed, was a leader. But he also talked about his experiences in the army and coming home, coming back to America and finding that he was still called boy, finding that he still could not get a decent job, could not go to any college or university that he wanted to, that he couldn't register and vote, that people in his hometown of Decatur, and other parts of Mississippi, and his mother, were being treated without, without any respect at all, being called by their first names, that we couldn't shop where we wanted to, that we couldn't try on clothes. The light came on in my heart and in my mind because Medgar represented to me many things at that particular time, but one of the things that he represented was a type of savior for me with all of the anger and the frustrations that I had had myself growing up in that segregated society, and not knowing anyone who talked about them and who talked about doing something about them. So it was a mixture of, of being a father, later my husband, of being a dear friend, of being a teacher. There were so many roles. But I saw in him a strength that was very unusual at that particular time with other people simply because everybody else seemed to be having fun, And the, even the teachers were a little in awe of Medgar because not only did he say to the students, but to the faculty as well, "We've got to do something about this."

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

THIS WILL BE TAKE SIX. CORRECTION: THIS WILL BE TAKE SEVEN.