LONGVIEW/GREGG COUNTY (KYTX) - 50 years ago Wednesday, many were shocked by the news of the assassination of Medgar Wiley Evers in Jackson, Mississippi.
"Every breath of his life was given for change and transformation."
Victoria Wilson is a member of Longview's NAACP, the Civil Right's organization that called the community together for a day of remembrance on the Gregg County Courthouse's steps.
President Branden Johnson was behind it all.
"I though it was consequential and important for us as a unit underneath this confederate soldier that stands on our Gregg County Courthouse lawn to do it right here."
Medgar Evers was a civil rights activist and NAACP Field Secretary who fought for equality on many levels from organizing protests against segregation to calling for legal investigations into school segregation.
"A champion for equal rights for all Americans."
On June 12th 1963 Evers was returning home from a NAACP meeting as he got out of his car.
"Turned to his house to walk to the door and before he could take two steps a shot rang out from a rifle."
Shot in the back by a Ku Klux Klan member Evers later died at a hospital.
"We don't tell the stories anymore."
Stories Odette Alexander say children of today's generation need to hear.
"We want our children to know this so they can aspire to the same type of greatness and aspire to do the same types of things because there's still a lot of work to be done."
"Someone's blood was shed so that you could do the things today that we couldn't do 50 years ago."
A day many civil rights activist of his time had dreamed of.
"And then so many other things from his death sparked this movement."
Johnson says every year, Longview's NAACP will commemorate this day in history.
"To celebrate the life of someone who chooses to sacrifice their life to make a difference."
Evers' murderer Brian De La Beckwith was tried in 1964.
Both trials ended with a hung jury.
30 years later at 74-years-old, Beckwith was brought back to trial based on new evidence and was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life without parole.