By Christopher Zoukis

At the second trial, the former governor of Mississippi – Ross Barnett – interrupted a witness’s testimony.  The witness was Myrlie Evers, the wife of Medgar Evers.  Governor Barnett walked into the courtroom, looked around, and then walked over to Delay and shook his hand. 

The implication of the governor’s act was clear to everyone:  White people in the state of Mississippi were rooting for Delay.  Sam Bowers / Image courtesy kukluxklan.net

In both trials, the all-white juries refused to convict a white man for the murder of a black man.  Delay’s alibi – that police officers had seen him at a gas station back home in Greenwood right after the ambush of Evers – gave the juries the excuse they needed.  Sufficient doubt, which resulted in deadlock.  Because there was no verdict in either trial, both trials ended in mistrials. 

After the second mistrial, Delay felt doubly confident, even arrogant.  He officially joined the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which was the most violent cadre of the Klan.  The mission of the White Knights was to stop talking and start doing.  Delay became good friends with Sam Bowers, who was the Imperial Wizard of the White Knights.  Bowers wasn’t like most Klansmen, who were pretty much the missing link, ignorant, brutal Neanderthals who didn’t know shit and hated anyone who wasn’t exactly like them.  Bowers came from Southern aristocracy and had attended the University of Southern California and Tulane University.  In other words, he was educated. 

Read More

Lawyer Up

By Christopher Zoukis

It happened like this:  In the evening hours of June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers attended a meeting of civil rights workers at a church in Jackson, Mississippi.  At the same time, his wife and children were at home, watching as President John F. Kennedy gave a televised speech on civil rights.   Image courtesy www.glogster.com

When the meeting was over, Medgar Evers drove to his house.  He parked the car in his driveway.  As Evers got out of his car, Delay was waiting across the way, hidden in a clump of honeysuckle vines.  In his hands, Delay held an Enfield 1917 rifle, .303 caliber, as cited in court records.  Delay took aim and fired.  The bullet smashed into Evers’s back, tore through his chest and exited, leaving a gaping wound.  Evers dropped like a sack of potatoes. 

Subsequent police reports outlined the following scenario:  Mortally wounded, yet still alive, Evers dragged himself toward his house.  He never made it.  His ebbing strength failed him and he stopped just short of the steps to the door, which was where his wife found him a short while later.  Rushed to the hospital, Evers died approximately one hour after being shot.

Medgar Evers was a determined man, as his final crawl toward his house indicated.  For Evers wanted to be somebody and to make a difference.  Inducted into the Army in 1943, Evers saw action in France.  Discharged in 1945, Evers went home to Decatur, Mississippi.  In a way, Evers’s life mirrored that of Byron de la Beckwith.  Both were passionate.  Both served their country in WWII.  It’s after their discharges that their stories diverged.

Read More