Exhibit Honoring Slain Civil Rights Leader Medgar Evers to Open on Permanent View at the Eudora Welty House & Garden
On June 1, 2023, the Eudora Welty House & Garden (EWHG) will unveil a new permanent exhibit honoring slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers in response to the sixtieth anniversary of his assassination on June 12, 1963, outside his Jackson, Mississippi, home.
Immediately after the news broke in Jackson, renowned Mississippi author Eudora Welty wrote “Where Is the Voice Coming From?”, a short story about the attack, which The New Yorker published on July 6, 1963—just 25 days after the crime. The new EWHG exhibit, titled Out of Outrage: Processing the Murder of Medgar Evers, follows the making of Welty’s piece.
Through this work of fiction, written before the crime was solved, Welty painted a startlingly accurate picture of Evers’s assassin, his motives, and his movements. In fact, before The New Yorker would publish the story, Welty said, “The fiction’s outward details had to be changed where, by chance, they had resembled those of actuality, for the story must not be found prejudicial to the case of a person who might be on trial for his life.”
This exhibit compares Welty’s original draft with the final version, highlighting changes. Story quotes pair with actual crime scene photographs, seemingly as captions, though Welty’s words predate the images. A photograph of Evers at work as Mississippi’s first field secretary for the NAACP opens the exhibit, along with an overview of his accomplishments.
“In Jackson, Mississippi, the legacy of Medgar Evers is felt strongly to this day,” said Eudora Welty House & Garden director Jessica Russell. “This small but impactful exhibit shares his story with our visitors and illustrates how some of the most powerful tools we will ever have—whether processing personal grief or fighting publicly for justice—are imagination, creativity, and the written word.”
The Eudora Welty Collection, housed in the William F. Winter building of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH), consists principally of drafts (including “Where is the Voice Coming From?”), revised copies, and printer's versions of Welty's works, including stories, books, essays, reviews, lectures, speeches, and drama. The collection also contains incoming and outgoing correspondence of Welty, negatives and photographs taken by Welty and her father, and memorabilia.
In addition to the exhibit at EWHG, MDAH holds in its collections the Medgar Wiley Evers and Myrlie Beasley Evers Papers, including papers of Medgar Evers as Mississippi field secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and records relating to the case, State of Mississippi v. Byron de la Beckwith.
About the Eudora Welty House & Garden
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty donated her manuscripts, letters, and home of 76 years at 1119 Pinehurst Street in Jackson to MDAH. The National Historic Landmark is open to the public for tours. For more information, visit eudoraweltyhouse.com.
Support programming for this exhibit begins in July, the month of Evers’ birthday, with a free #WeltyatHome Virtual Book Club discussion of the short story, led by Welty’s friend and biographer, Dr. Suzanne Marrs. To register for the Zoom link, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Out of Outrage: Processing the Murder of Medgar Evers will be on permanent view at the Eudora Welty House & Garden Visitor Center, 1109 Pinehurst Street, Jackson, Mississippi. The Visitor Center is free and open to the public Tuesday–Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, from 12:30 to 4 p.m.