Of Long Memory: Mississippi and the Murder of Medgar Evers

Adam Nossiter, Author
Adam Nossiter, Author Addison Wesley Publishing Company $22 (303p) ISBN 978-0-201-60844-1
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
Paperback - 978-0-201-48339-0
Paperback - 340 pages - 978-0-306-81162-3
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In this resonant and absorbing narrative, Nossiter uses the 1963 murder of NAACP staffer Medgar Evers and the recent re-prosecution of assassin Byron de la Beckwith as a prism through which to examine the significant evolution in hearts, minds and government in Mississippi. Nossiter, who formerly covered Mississippi for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , tells his story mainly in deft profiles: Evers, the resolute field secretary shunned by many of the black bourgeoisie in Jackson; Beckwith, the racist supported by the white establishment, whose first two trials led to hung juries; prosecutor Bobby DeLaughter, who slowly developed a consciousness of the past. By the late 1980s, with new political leaders in place and a collective introspection in process, the state exhumed the case: information about jury tampering became known, formerly reluctant witnesses testified and Beckwith was convicted. The need for this thoughtful analysis--a more comprehensive look at the Evers case than Reed Massengill's recent Beckwith biography, Portrait of a Racist --is shown by a jury pool, black and white, almost universally ignorant of Evers. (May)
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