Medgar Evers was born in Decatur in 1925. From his youth, he was on the path to become one of Mississippi's greatest leaders of the civil rights movement.
Almost 40 years after his assassination by Byron de la Beckwith outside Evers' home in Jackson, Decatur and Newton County honored one of their hometown heroes.
"To me, he's a hero, a man who stood up for what he believed in and was willing to sacrifice his life," said Bill May, a co-organizer of the Newton County memorial. "That's a hero to me."
As a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law, a school Evers was not allowed into because of his skin color. May said he believes Medgar Evers' fight that ended in his martyrdom was not in vain.
May said it's not memorials or a college with his name on it or an historic marker at the Newton County Courthouse that make his legacy, but expanded democracy for all races and backgrounds throughout the nation.
"It gives us a chance as people to come together and say none of us ever want to go back to those days, but we should never forget those days," May said. "We should reflect on them and learn from them."
Diann Chapman, co-organizer for the event, said of Evers, "He has done a lot for us. He sacrificed his life that we would be able to come here tonight. That we could all come together as one Newton County and people."
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, former Gov. William Winter, Medgar Evers' widow Myrlie Evers Williams, and Nelson B. Rivers of the National NAACP attended the commemoration.