50th anniversary of Medgar Evers’ broadcasting milestone

By | May 19, 2013

In the early 1960s, as Medgar Evers was becoming better known nationally as a civil rights leader in Mississippi, he found himself shut out of local television newscasts in his hometown and the state capital, Jackson.

Although Evers served as the field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, local TV and radio stations never called, his wife, Myrlie, recalled in an interview.

Coverage of civil rights demonstrators was rarely seen on local stations’ like Jackson’s dominant Channel 3, WLBT. She said Medgar’s press releases were often wired to NAACP headquarters in New York so it could get information before interested national media. At home, her TV screen would sometimes go dark when black entertainers like Sammy Davis Jr. or Lena Horne came on.

“So, we were blocked from seeing successful people of our own race appear anywhere. I can recall my eldest son saying to me, ‘Mommy, the television’s broken again,'” Myrlie said. “It was a form of suppression.” (CBS Evening News)

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