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Image courtesy of Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives. Photo by Edwin Schmidt, 1970.

Audio courtesy of Yale University

Charles Evers and Neil E. Goldschmidt

Date: 
Feb. 12, 1964
Related Documents: 
Charles Evers
Related Documents: 
Neil E. Goldschmidt
Charles Evers Bio

James Charles Evers (1922- ) is a civil rights activist and politician. Born in Decatur, Mississippi, Evers is the older brother of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers. Charles Evers fought in World War II in the Pacific and later graduated from Alcorn A&M University in Lorman, Mississippi. After graduation he worked in a Chicago hotel and sent money to his brother to support his civil rights work in Mississippi. When Medgar, who was appointed Mississippi's first full-time field secretary for the NAACP in 1954, was murdered in 1963, Charles Evers returned to Mississippi and took over his brother's role in the organization. In 1969 Charles Evers was elected mayor of Fayette, Mississippi, a town of 1,626 residents. He became the first African American mayor of a bi-racial town in Mississippi since Reconstruction. Charles Evers later ran unsuccessfully for governor of Mississippi and for the U.S. Senate.

Image courtesy of Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives. Photo by Edwin Schmidt, 1970.

Neil E. Goldschmidt Bio

Neil E. Goldschmidt (1940- ) is an American politician. A native of Eugene, Oregon, Goldschmidt completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon in 1963, and he received a law degree in 1967 from Boalt Law School at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1964 he performed voter registration work in Mississippi as part of the Freedom Summer campaign. After graduating from law school, Goldschmidt worked as a legal aid attorney in Portland for several years, before being elected city commissioner and later mayor of Portland. Goldschmidt served as mayor of Portland until 1979, when President Jimmy Carter appointed him Secretary of Transportation. In 1986 Goldschmidt was elected governor of Oregon. In 2004 the Willamette Weekly, a Portland newspaper, broke a story in which it contended that Goldschmidt, while mayor of Portland, engaged in a sexual relationship with a 14 year-old babysitter. The newspaper won a 2005 Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism for its coverage of the story.

Image of Neil Goldschmidt is courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society.

Abstract

Evers discusses the White Citizens Council's attempts to intimidate him, and he describes white supremacists' attempts to rein in his civil rights work. He discusses his childhood and his relationship with his brother, Medgar, including the influences that led both to become civil rights activists. He also describes his and Medgar's efforts to open NAACP chapters and register African American voters. Evers discusses how white people attempted to keep him from registering to vote and to prevent him from voting. He affirms his belief in nonviolence, though he contends that African Americans should protect themselves. He discusses the trial of Byron De La Beckwith, his brother's murderer, and he recalls his brother's death and funeral. Evers considers issues of class in African American communities, expresses disagreement with the Black Muslim movement, and explains why some African Americans remain distrustful of white northerners' assistance with civil rights work. He also discusses sectional differences in race relations, whether federal troop protection is necessary in the South, and whether churches and colleges have done all they could to support the civil rights movement. Neil Goldschmidt participates in the conclusion of the interview, during which Goldschmidt and Evers describe the state of civil rights in Mississippi and recount the many ways in which the laws of Mississippi are used to harass African Americans.

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