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J. Walter Green

Speakers lock hands and sing during memorial service on Boston Common for Medgar Evers, slain Mississippi black leader, June 26, 1963
Vintage wire photograph on paper
5 1/2 x 7 9/16 in. (13.97 x 19.21 cm)

Creation Place: North America
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted gift of Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg in honor of Myrlie Evers-Williams.
Accession Number: P2021.13.168

Memorial Service For Slain Mississippi Black Leader: speakers on platform lock hands and sing during memorial service on historic Boston Common today for Medgar Evers, slain Mississippi black leader. Left to right: Reverend John Snow, Assistant Minister, Christ Episcopal, Cambridge; Attorney General Edward Brooke of Massachusetts; Charles Evers, brother of the murdered NAACP Secretary; and Kenneth Guscott, President of the Boston NAACP.

Medgar Wiley Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963) was an black Civil Rights activist in Mississippi and the state's field secretary of the NAACP. He was a World War II veteran, having served in the United States Army. Evers worked to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi, to end segregation in public facilities, and to expand opportunities for blacks, including enforcement of voting rights. He was assassinated by Byron De La Beckwith, Jr., a white supremacist Klansman. Charles Evers (1922-2020) was an American Civil Rights activist and former Republican politician, known for his role in the Civil Rights Movement along with his younger brother, Medgar Evers. After his brother's assassination in 1963, Evers took over his position as Field Director of the NAACP in Mississippi. He led many demonstrations for the rights of blacks. In 1969, Evers was named "Man of the Year" by the NAACP. In 1969, Evers was elected in Fayette, Mississippi as the first black mayor in the state in the post-Reconstruction era. This followed the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which enforced constitutional rights for citizens.

Edward William Brooke III (October 26, 1919 – January 3, 2015) was an American Republican politician. In 1966, he became the first black popularly elected to the United States Senate. He represented Massachusetts in the Senate from 1967 to 1979. Born and raised in Washington DC, Brooke served in the United States Army during World War II and later graduated from the Boston University School of Law. After serving as chairman of the Finance Commission of Boston, Brooke won election as Massachusetts Attorney General in 1962. In 1966, he defeated Democratic Governor Endicott Peabody in a landslide to win election to the Senate. In the Senate, Brooke aligned with the liberal faction of Republicans. He co-wrote the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which prohibits housing discrimination. Brooke became a prominent critic of President Richard Nixon and was the first Senate Republican to call for Nixon's resignation in light of the Watergate scandal. Brooke won re-election in 1972, but he was defeated by Democrat Paul Tsongas in 1978. After leaving the Senate, Brooke practiced law in Washington DC and was affiliated with various businesses and non-profits. Kenneth Guscott (1926-2017) was an activist, engineer, and real estate developer, and served as president of the Boston NAACP during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, tackling the issues of jobs, education and housing.

Byron De La Beckwith, Jr. (1920-2001) was a white supremacist and Klansman from Greenwood, Mississippi. He assassinated Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers on June 12, 1963. Two murder trials in 1964 resulted in hung juries. In 1994, he was tried by the state in a new trial based on new evidence; Beckwith was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison. De La Beckwith died in prison in 2001 at age 80.

On recto: typewritten title and date.
On verso: date stamp.

Wire photographs were originally transmitted over phonelines, then later, by satellite. They were first used in the early 1920s. Associated Press became a leader with this. After pigment touch-ups, etc., the print is put into a drum (like a drum scanner). The image gets converted into audio tones that are transmitted. The tones are received and beamed onto photo-sensitive paper. Wire photographs are copies without originals---they are hybrid, transmitted objects. (Britt Salvesen, Curator and Department Head, Photography Department, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, March 30-31, 2022)

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  • Image Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 7 9/16 in. (13.97 x 19.21 cm) Measured by Cornejo-Reynoso, Aitzin
  • Sheet Dimensions: 5 11/16 x 7 13/16 in. (14.45 x 19.84 cm) Measured by Cornejo-Reynoso, Aitzin

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