Medgar Wiley Evers was born July 2, 1925 in Decatur, Mississippi, the son of Jesse and her husband, James Evers, who was the owner of a small farm and a sawmill worker. Evers was the third of five children, after Charles and Elizabeth. His sister Ruth was the youngest. The family also included Eva Lee and Gene, Jesse’s children from a prior marriage. After the lynchings of family friends, Evers became determined to get the education he deserved, so he walked 12 miles to and from school to earn his high school diploma. In 1943 he was inducted into the army along with his older brother, Charlie. Evers fought in the European Theatre of WWII, including in France. He was honorably discharged in 1945 as a Sergeant. In 1946, he, along with his brother and four friends, returned to his hometown.