Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of Medgar Evers, a leading civil rights activist who was murdered by a white supremacist in 1963, insists that no, “absolutely no”, this country has not made sufficient progress in the 52 years since her husband was assassinated outside their home in Mississippi, in full view of their three small children.
Evers-Williams, who has continued the fight against racism ever since, revealed how she felt about the recent dramatic “turnaround” in the South following the murders in the church in Charleston. Speaking on the Rachel Maddow Show, Evers-Williams said she was “horrified” that The Wall Street Journal referred to the 21-year old murderer Dylan Roof as “Mr.” in their accounts of the massacre. For her, it was a sign that people “don’t realize what one subtle thing can do to take us back years”– to the days when black people, however old and dignified, were disrespectfully called by their first name while whites, however young and inconsequential, were referred to as Mr., Miss or Ms. The use of “Mr.” is clearly a result of WSJ editorial policy. The question lingers: is it also, in this case, an expression of racism?