Ghosts of Mississippi: The Murder of Medgar Evers, the Trials of Byron de La Beckwith, and the Haunting of the New South

Maryanne Vollers, Author
Maryanne Vollers, Author Little Brown and Company $24.95 (411p) ISBN 978-0-316-91485-7
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-316-91471-0
Ebook - 343 pages - 978-0-7867-5499-1
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Though this book is a worthwhile account of the 1963 murder of Mississippi NAACP representative Medgar Evers and the eventual conviction last year of his killer, its subtitle suggests a difficult task. Indeed, freelance journalist Vollers spends the first third of the book leading up to Evers's murder, sketching his background and that of racist killer Byron De La Beckwith, as well as their state's racial climate. She then recounts the two mistrials in the case, the paths of Beckwith and widow Myrlie Evers and the evolution in Mississippi--a new breed of politicians, greater black political power and a more aggressive press--that set the stage for a new trial. A few passages jolt: Beckwith, during his last trial in 1994, deems a dark-skinned Indian motel manager ``really a white man.'' Others resonate, as Vollers relates the patriotic Evers's earnest call for desegregation. Though somewhat broader in scope, this title is more diffuse and not as well written as Adam Nossiter's 1994 book, After Long Memory: Mississippi and the Murder of Medgar Evers. (Apr.)
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