James Charles Evers (born September 11, 1922) is an American civil rights activist and former politician. Evers was known for his role in the civil rights movement along with his younger brother Medgar Evers. He was made the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) State Voter Registration Chairman in 1954. After his brother’s assassination in 1963, Evers took over his position as field director of the NAACP in Mississippi. As field director, Evers organized and led many demonstrations for the rights of African Americans.In 1969, Evers was named “Man of the Year” by the NAACP. On June 3, 1969, Evers was elected in Fayette, Mississippi, as the first African-American mayor of a biracial town in the state in the post-Reconstruction era, following passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which enforced constitutional rights for citizens. (The town of Mound Bayou had been incorporated in 1898 as a Negro-only municipality and had had black mayors and council members throughout the 20th century; challenger Earl Lucas was elected the Mound Bayou mayor, defeating incumbent Wesley Liddell on the same day that Evers was elected in Fayette)
At the time of Evers’s election as mayor, the town of Fayette had a population of 1,600 of which 75% was African-American and almost 25% White; the white officers on the Fayette city police “resigned rather than work under a black administration”, according to the Associated Press. Evers told reporters “I guess we will just have to operate with an all-black police department for the present. But I am still looking for some whites to join us in helping Fayette grow.” Evers then outlawed the carrying of firearms within city limits.He unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1971 and the United States Senate in 1978, both times as an Independent candidate. In 1989, Evers was defeated for re-election after serving sixteen years as mayor.