Eighth Graders Learn About Civil Rights Activist Medgar Evers

Written by N. Felmus (Class of 2019)

On Friday, April 24, as part of their “Facing History and Ourselves” curriculum, the eighth grade Skyped with the nephew and niece in-law of civil rights activist Medgar Evers. This curriculum focuses around human behavior throughout history and includes a study of the civil rights movement of the 1950’s-60’s. To give the everyone some background information, the interview began with two short videos about Medgar Evers.

Following the videos, Evers’ nephew,  Mr. Carlos Evers, and his wife, Dr. Carla Evers, gave an account of the more personal aspects of Evers’ life, including his relationship with his family. Carlos talked about the extremely close relationship his father, Charles Evers, shared with him while growing up amid terrible racism in Mississippi. He described how the two disagreed about the effectiveness of Evers’ nonviolent methods and discussed what the family is still doing to honor his legacy today. For instance, he described the annual “Medgar Evers Homecoming,” in which the entire Evers family comes together for charity. After that, he and his wife opened up the floor for questions.

Before the Skype chat, the eighth grade was encouraged to come up with thought-provoking questions to ask the two guests. Questions were asked about the closeness of the Evers family and even about the racist perceptions of Caucasian people and whether or not they will ever be gone. The questions had been well thought out, challenging everyone in the room to think deeply about the answers and their own opinions and morals. The guests responded to the students’ questions with equally thought provoking answers that kept the entire room riveted to the conversation. The conversation was a rewarding and eye-opening experience for both students and teachers, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.