Feeding the Revolution in Mississippi
The pace of the civil rights movement accelerated with the return of World War II soldiers like Medger Evers who fought in France and earned the rank of sergeant during the war. He returned to his home state of Mississippi where he went on to become Mississippi’s first NAACP field secretary setting up his office in Jackson over the top of the Big Apple Inn restaurant. Still open today, Juan “Big John” Mora (1890-1976) opened it back in 1939. Evers did not have adequate office space to hold meetings, and he would often hold them down stairs in Big John's where he would discuss civil rights organizing and protest strategies. When customers came in they liked what they heard, and joined the movement. “In fact they would be lined up at the [restaurant’s] door just to hear Medger’s strategy,” says Big John’s grandson Gene Lee, Sr.