It’s been 50 years since civil rights leader Medgar Evers was slain in his driveway, returning home from a meeting over matters in the NAACP. Following the cold-blooded killing by a white supremacist, and coinciding with the period of ever-intensifiying racial hostility in the South, writers got more and more direct with their songs of southern hate. “The Ballad of Megar Evers” is an a cappella spiritual by the Freedom Singers (a different group than the one founded by Cordell Reagon); Bob Dylan covered the Evers tragedy and its political ramifications in “Only a Pawn in Their Game;”
Phils Ochs weighed in with “Too Many Martyrs.”
Perhaps most famously, there was Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam.”
Though it was the bombing of the four little girls at Sixteenth Street Baptist that forced Simone’s lyric, the situation in Mississippi culminating in the assassination of Evers earned the song its title. Evers’ killer was finally convicted in 1994.