Ghosts of Mississippi: The Murder of Medgar Evers, the Trials of Byron De LA Beckwith, and the Haunting of the New South
The civil rights movement was just beginning to catch fire in Mississippi on the night in 1963 when white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith crouched in the honeysuckle across the street from NAACP leader Medgar Evers's house and shot him in the back. Three decades later, Beckwith was finally convicted of murder and sent to prison for life. It was his third trial - the previous two having ended in mistrials in 1964 - and it concluded one of the most rankling cases of the civil rights era. In Ghosts of Mississippi, journalist Maryanne Vollers tells the inside story of that state's struggle to confront the ghosts of its violent past in order to bring a killer to justice. Medgar Evers was a martyr of the sixties, the first man down in the decade of the assassin. His murder might have gone unpunished if not for the uneasy alliance between his widow, who vowed to "go the last mile" for her husband, and a young white prosecutor who finally found the way. Vollers weaves a compelling narrative that captures the journey from the old South to the new. Drawing on her rare access to prosecutors, Evers's family, and Beckwith himself Vollers re-creates the events of Evers's life and death, while bringing to light new facts and insights into the assassination case and the conspiracy theories that surround it. The result is a thrilling tale of racism, murder, courage, redemption, and the ultimate triumph of justice.