I was in the grocery store, ear phones in my head jamming to Stevie Wonder. Old school I know. I was anxious to get out of the store, same story too many stares and I rush to the shortest line fumbling to grab a bag. Here, in Lithuania, you grab a plastic bag before check out, pay for the bag, and bag your groceries yourself. My hands were full and I was struggling to grab one. I notice a man come behind me, he was kind of old, and I decided to let him go ahead of me because I still could not get a bag. I motion for him to go ahead and he refuses. He then grabs my basket and helps me put my stuff on the movingthingy (professional right?) and grabs a bag for me. It was then I realized not everyone is the same.
While in Lithuania, I have decided to take a break from the Flowers family research, which you can still read in older posts. In place of the Flowers research, I have decided to launch research on Civil Rights activists. This is not necessary about the legacy they left, but more about the legacy they come from. I decided to start with Medgar Evers who on December 24, 1951, the day before Christmas how sweet, Evers married Myrlie Beasely, which is where we are going to begin. I know, I know this was suppose to be about Medgar, but his wife was an activist as well. Plus it is also because she did an amazing job for the President Obama’s inauguration and because it is my research and I can bend the rules lol.
The first tip in genealogy is to always work forward and then go back. The 1950 Federal Census will not be released until 2022 due to privacy acts. I will never be able to read a census document containing both Myrlie and her husband. Just wanted to explain this at the start.
Myrlie Beasley was born on March 17, 1933 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Pictured below is her entry in the 1940 United States Federal Census.
(If you click on the Census, you are able to enlarge it and then press the backspace to return to the blog.)
Better view of the Beasley household:
In the household of Annie Beasley were four dwellers (honestly didn’t know what else to call them), Martha Latham, James Beasley, LaFayette Lucas, and Myrlie Beasley. They resided at 1426 Magnolia Street at a home owned by the head of the household, Ms. Annie. The home was valued at $400. Myrlie was listed as the granddaughter of the head of the household. Putting two and two together, I am assuming that Annie is her grandmother on her father’s side. Martha was listed as the grandmother of the head and I assume she is the great-grandmother of Myrlie. James listed as the son of the headis her father, which was confirmed through her biography. LaFayette is only a lodger within the home. Myrlie’s grandmother and great-grandmother are both widows. In this census, Annie is 57 years old meaning she was probably born around 1883 in Mississippi. Martha was 96 years old with her birth year being around 1844 in Mississippi. Martha was never educated while her daughter Annie reached grade seven. James, Myrlie’s father, highest level of education was high school, 4th year. He was 66 hours a week (and I complain about 20 hours) as a porter at a retail hardware store every week of the year. His yearly income was $520. His daughter, Myrlie, was only 7 years old at the time.
The only other document I found about Myrlie is her 2nd marriage to Walter E. Williams on June 4, 1976 in Los Angeles. After Medgar’s death along with her children, she relocated to California. It is going to be more difficult to find documents on Myrlie for many documents after 1940 are not release yet to the public. I still need to find her first marriage index and city directories. I am not finish with Myrlie’s ancestry yet. The document below is the California Marriage Index, Myrlie and Walter are at the top.
Then I discovered her family in the1930 Census. Myrlie was not born yet born, but I found her father, aunt, and mother living again at 1426 Magnolia Street in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
As in the 1930 Census, Annie is the head of the household and is 47 years old at the time. She worked as a public school teacher in Mississippi. The only part of this census I question is her marital status. She is listed as single and ten years later listed as widowed. Still searching for her husband or the father of her two children. Two, yes, two children. James continues to live with his mother at the age of 23 along with his sister Myrlie who is 25 years old. This explains were Myrlie’s name came from—her aunt. More research to see if her aunt was named after someone in the family as well. James worked as a planter at a place that was not legible enough to read. His sister worked as a teacher.
More research is to be done. My goal is to trace both Medgar and Myrlie’s family history back to slavery. I found a few leads in census documents from 1880 to 1910, but no confirmation. I want to be 99.9% sure that they are descendants of Myrlie. Hope you enjoy the For Evers series so far.
Until next post