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Thanks for leadership, Charles Evers

Southwest Mississippi lost a great civil rights leader earlier this week when Charles Evers died at the age of 97.

Evers overcame struggles growing up poor in the segregated South to become Mississippi’s first Black mayor since reconstruction when he was elected to be the Mayor of Fayette, a position he held for 16 years.

Charles Evers was the older brother of NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers who was assassinated in the driveway of his house in Jackson in 1963.

After Medgar Evers’ death, Charles Evers returned to Mississippi from Chicago to pick up the work of his slain brother.

Charles Evers used his charm and charismatic personality to bridge gaps of the racial divide of the 1960s and to enlist support of a broad coalition of Mississippians and Americans to help breakdown racial barriers.

Charles Evers also was a successful businessman who ran a cab service, gas station and was a disc jockey, among other business pursuits.

Above all, however, Charles Evers was a bridge builder who was able to successfully tear down racial walls of his time through his charm and likable personality.

We appreciate his service to our state and nation and will miss his contributions.

Charles Evers should serve as a role model for generations of leaders to come.