Medgar and Myrlie: Medgar Evers and the Love Story That Awakened America (Hardcover)
The host of MSNBC’s The ReidOut and New York Times bestselling author of The Man Who Sold America traces the extraordinary lives and legacy of civil rights icons Medgar and Myrlie Evers, situating Medgar Evers’s assassination as a catalyzing moment in American history.
Myrlie Louise Beasley met Medgar Evers on her first day of college. They fell in love at first sight, married just one year later, and Myrlie left school to focus on their growing family.
Medgar became the field secretary for the Mississippi branch of the NAACP, charged with beating back the most intractable and violent resistance to black voting rights in the country. Myrlie served as Medgar’s secretary and confidant, working hand in hand with him as they struggled against public accommodations and school segregation, lynching, violence, and sheer despair within their state’s “black belt.” They fought to desegregate the intractable University of Mississippi, organized picket lines and boycotts, despite repeated terroristic threats, including the 1962 firebombing of their home, where they lived with their three young children.
On June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers became the highest profile victim of Klan-related assassination of a black civil rights leader at that time; gunned down in the couple’s driveway in Jackson. In the wake of his tragic death, Myrlie carried on their civil rights legacy; writing a book about Medgar’s fight, trying to win a congressional seat, and becoming a leader of the NAACP in her own right.
In this groundbreaking and thrilling account of two heroes of the civil rights movement, Joy-Ann Reid uses Medgar and Myrlie’s relationship as a lens through which to explore the on-the-ground work that went into winning basic rights for Black Americans, and the repercussions that still resonate today.
Joy-Ann Reid is the host of MSNBC’s The ReidOut. Her books include the New York Times bestseller The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the Unraveling of the American Story. Reid previously hosted the weekend MSNBC show AM Joy. The former managing editor of The Grio, Reid has had columns appearing in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Miami Herald, New York, and The Daily Beast. She lives in Maryland and Brooklyn.
"I love this book. The empathic, brilliant, and wise Joy Reid has brought us the poignant, fascinating inside story of an important marriage in American history....Medgar and Myrlie Evers confronted pure evil and risked their lives to ensure that all American children might grow up in a United States that was more just. As Reid shows us, that painful task is now more urgent than ever.” — Michael Beschloss