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Evidence of 1963 ‘home invasion’ still has profound effect today

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By Rick Shannon

The home is a modest, nondescript house located at 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive in Jackson, Miss. The house’s pale aqua exterior identifies its 1950s roots.
It is the only house on the street that has no front door, an odd design chosen by its owners who felt they would be safer if the only front entryway was located off the carport.
The same safety concerns prompted the parents of the home to put their children to bed on mattresses laid directly on the floor so they would be lower than the windows in their bedrooms when they went to sleep at night.
On June 12, 1963 the home was invaded by a bullet launched from an Enfield rifle with a scope. The bullet entered the home through the large front window, nicking the window blinds on the way.
Continuing its reckless path, the leaden invader traveled across the living room and through the wall separating the living room from the kitchen. Once inside the kitchen the projectile pinged off the refrigerator, bounced to the other side of the room where it pierced a watermelon lying on the counter. It finally came to rest in the kitchen sink where it would later be retrieved by the authorities investigating the incident.
When I visited the home in October last year, the path of the invader was easily discernible from the nick in the blinds to the hole in the kitchen wall to the dented refrigerator.
Before invading the home, the bullet had already brought horror to a warm Mississippi night. It had found its intended target, which was not the house but its owner – Medgar Wiley Evers, the field secretary for the Mississippi branch of the NAACP.
Evers had been pushing hard for the overthrow of laws designed to keep African Americans from voting. He had just come home from an NAACP meeting and was carrying T-shirts that said, “Jim Crow must go.”
Launched from across the street by a White Supremacist lurking in the shadows of a slightly wooded area, the bullet struck Evers in the back and passed through his body before entering his house.  
Inside the home were Evers’ wife and three children who, only hours earlier, had listened to a nationally-televised address by President John Kennedy.
In his speech the President had given his support to many of the civil rights goals championed by Evers.
Without notice, the nighttime intruder had killed Medgar, terrorized his family and brought national attention to a bloody driveway at 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive in Jackson, Miss.     

Lawrenceburg resident Rick Shannon recently toured several significant civil rights sites. This is the last column relating his experience in the column series published during Black History Month.