American Playhouse (1981– )
7.2/10
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6 user 1 critic

For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story 

Based on the life and times of NAACP field secretary and Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers, assassinated in 1963.

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
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Dottie
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Gloster Current
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Jimbo Collins (as Larry Fishburme)
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Mildred (as Janet McLaughlan)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kevin Crysler ...
Priest
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Maybelle
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Storyline

This movie traces the life of Medgar Evers, the former insurance salesman turned NAACP field secretary, who was instrumental in the desegregation of the University of Mississippi and organizing boycotts against discriminating southern white merchants. Although Evers truly believed that the Constitution included the rights within for each American citizen, no matter what color or class, his battle for equality would shockingly conclude with his assassination at the hands of white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith on June 12, 1963.

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22 March 1983 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This movie was released in 1983. Medgar Evers' assassin, Byron de la Beckwith, was not convicted until 1994. The details of this investigation were described in the movie Ghosts of Mississippi (1996). See more »

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User Reviews

Well done, taught me a lot
15 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

This was an African Heritage Network presentation on my local TV station, co-hosted by Ossie Davis, who wrote part of the screenplay.

I didn't know that much about Medgar Evers. The movie opened with events leading up to his murder. Then it went back to 1953, when Evers was selling insurance to blacks but also promoting the NAACP. A black sharecropper was accompanied by the white man he worked for as Evers visited, and the white man made it clear that the sharecropper was happy and Evers should stay away. The sharecropper could only agree, in an Uncle Tom kind of way.

Eventually, Evers moved on to become one of the top NAACP officials in Mississippi, with his dedicated wife his only employee. Evers campaigned for desegregation of schools, but those who supported him ended up having trouble getting work or even being victims of violence. Later, college students protested, and a white man was accused of murdering a black (which in the South of the 1950s often meant no consequences).

Howard Rollins did a good job as Evers, and I was pleasantly surprised with Irene Cara as his wife. Roscoe Lee Browne gave a fine performance as usual, as Evers' boss. Paul Winfield was good as a local black leader respected by the racist whites because he did things their way. The effects of segregation and the attitudes of whites were shown effectively. As is usual in movies like this, the local white people weren't shown that positively, and some of the more racist characters seemed stereotyped.

One scene was quite disturbing: a group of white men nearly raped an older black woman who was a major character. This wasn't seen as a serious offense, but if a black MAN even looked at a white woman in the same culture....

The movie's one major weakness: we were not given enough information about the passing of time. I wasn't aware school segregation had become illegal when the campaign to integrate schools took place, yet cars from the late 50s were showing up. This could have meant that cars being used were only the approximate ages because specific years were hard to find, but eventually it became clear the 60s had begun.

Also, if Byron de la Beckwith was eventually convicted in Evers' death, why was he not mentioned?

This was a movie worth seeing, especially for those who can't believe the South was ever like this.


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