Here are 10 things to know about civil rights leader Medgar Evers and the house where he and his family lived. The house is now a national historic landmark — the only one in Mississippi related to the modern civil rights movement.

JACKSON, Miss. – 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 Rankin County home, according to the Rankin County coroner.

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.

Follow Jimmie E. Gates on Twitter: @jgatesnews.


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