2020-07-22 18:53:52 UTC
Charles Evers, brother of Medgar Evers, dies at the age of 97
Jimmie E. Gates
Mississippi Clarion Ledger
Published 12:25 p.m. CT July 22, 2020
Updated 1:4225 p.m. CT July 22, 2020
Civil Rights icon Charles Evers, the first Black elected mayor of a Mississippi city and brother of Medgar Evers, has died at the age of 97.
Evers became the first black mayor of a Mississippi town or city since reconstruction when he was elected mayor of Fayette in 1969.
Evers died Wednesday surrounded by family at his daughter's Rankin County home.
Evers' family said in a statement: "Our family appreciates the outpouring of affection, love and support over the years. Our family is heartbroken and proud of his legacy. His voice will be missed. James Charles Evers was 97 years old."
Evers has always followed the beat of his own drummer. In his 1971 autobiography, Evers outlined how he had been a gun-toting bootlegger, a numbers-runner and a pimp in Chicago before coming back to Mississippi after his brother was assassinated in June 1963.
Charles Evers came back and assumed the role of state NAACP field secretary, the position his late brother held. Charles led marches, boycotts and other civil rights activities.
According to a Clarion-Ledger story, Evers received a standing ovation before the Credentials Committee of the National Democratic Convention in 1968, when he and other members of the biracial loyalist faction were seated.
When Thad Cochran ran and won the U.S. Senate seat in 1978, his opponents in the November general election were Democrat Maurice Dantin and Evers, who ran as an independent.
Some pundits said then that Evers may have helped Cochran win the race by taking away votes from Dantin, the Democratic candidate. Evers received more than 133,000 votes, about 23 percent of the votes cast. Cochran received 45 percent of the vote.
After losing the U.S. Senate race in 1978, Evers switched to the Republican Party two years later and made news that year when he endorsed Republican Ronald Reagan for president.
Evers, one of the most colorful characters in the state's history, has worked over several decades to keep his brother's memory alive. He was the owner of WMPR radio station in Jackson.
Contact Jimmie E. Gates at ***@jackson.gannett.com or (601) 961-7212. Follow @jgatesnews on Twitter.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
Contact Jimmie E. Gates at 601-961-7212 or ***@gannett.com. Follow @jgatesnews on Twitter.