Topic: Byron De La Beckwith

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Byron De La Beckwith (November 9, 1920 – January 21, 2001) was an American white supremacist and Klansman who was convicted of killing civil rights leader Medgar Evers.

De La Beckwith was born in Colusa, California to Susan Southworth Yerger. When he was five years old, his father died of pneumonia and De La Beckwith subsequently moved to the Sacramento area. He later moved with his mother to Greenwood, Mississippi to be near relatives. Beckwith's mother died of lung cancer when he was 12, and he was placed in the care of his maternal uncle, William Greene Yerger.

De La Beckwith enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in January 1942, and served as a machine gunner in the Pacific theater. He saw action at the Battle of Guadalcanal and was wounded during the Battle of Tarawa. For his service, Beckwith was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (twice), Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars, Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and also received the Purple Heart. Later claims that Beckwith was awarded the Silver Star are unfounded, according to official Marine Corps records. He was discharged in January 1946.

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