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Civil Rights, Mississippi, and the Novelist's Craft

The Medgar Evers Murder
Eudora Welty

Concerning her 1963 short story "Where Is the Voice Coming From?" Eudora Welty later wrote:

"That hot August night when Medgar Evers, the local civil rights leader, was shot down from behind in Jackson, I thought, with overwhelming directness: Whoever the murderer is, I know him: not his identity, but his coming about, in this time and place. That is, I ought to have learned by now, from here, what such a man, intent on such a deed, had going on in his mind. I wrote his story - my fiction - in the first person: about that character's point of view, I felt, through my shock and revolt, I could make no mistake. The story pushed its way up through a long novel I was in the middle of writing, and was finished on the same night the shooting had taken place."

The New Yorker immediately accepted the story for its next issue, conducting the editing process entirely over the telephone. By that time, police had arrested Byron De La Beckwith for the crime, and Welty's story underwent alteration where details too closely resembled those of reality.