WHEN MEDGAR EVERS' BROTHER WANTED TO MEET BOB DYLAN
On May 17, ten years ago, Bob Dylan performed at the Jackson Mississippi JAM - the city’s arts and music festival. (Yes, when Freddy Koella was on lead guitar.) What I missed at the time was an account in the Jackson Free Press on June 12, which concentrated not on the music, or the rain and mud, but on the attempt by Medgar Evers’ surviving older brother, Charles Evers, to meet Dylan to thank him for the song ‘Only A Pawn in their Game’. I wasn’t aware of this story the following year either, when I arrived by train to spend Martin Luther King Jnr. Day in Jackson MS, where I went to Medgar Evers’ house and stood at the edge of the suburban lawn where he’d been gunned down just over 40 years earlier.
Now the Jackson Free Press editor, Donna Ladd, has reprinted the story of Charles Evers’ attempt to meet Dylan - it was published June 5. The original account, which is the same, is from June 12, 2003. In neither does she explain how Charles Evers is related to Medgar, or that Charles (now 90) came back to Mississippi after his brother’s death, took over the local NAACP and became the first black mayor in Mississippi since the Reconstruction period after the American Civil War - she was writing for a local readership who know who Charles Evers was and is. Yesterday I republished that 2003 account, but I've been asked simply to link to it instead - which is fair enough - so here is that link.