‘Women of the Movement’: Who are Ruby Hurley and Medgar Evers in Real Life?

There are numerous cast members and characters to keep track of in Women of the Movement on ABC, including new additions Ruby Hurley and Medgar Evers. The two representatives from the NAACP, portrayed by Leslie Silva and Tongayi Chirisa, travel to Sumner, Mississippi, for the Emmett Till (Cedric Joe) trial. They both stay at the home of Dr. Howard (Alex Désert) to help with the investigation of Till’s murder. 

ABC’s historical drama details the true story of a 14-year-old Black boy kidnapped and brutally murdered by two white men in 1955. The series emphasizes the role his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley (Adrienne Warren), played in fighting for a fair trial and justice for her son. Jay-Z and Will Smith produce the six-part series.

‘Women of the Movement’: Who is Ruby Hurley from the NAACP in real life?

In Women of the Movement Episode 4, Ruby Hurley pretends to be a woman picking cotton in Mississippi to learn more about Emmett Till’s murder. According to Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, Volume 5: Completing the Twentieth Century, she wore cotton picker’s clothes to interview witnesses for the Till case. 

When a journalist asks “the NAACP’s dynamic duo” about the Lee case in Women of the Movement, it is because that is what Hurley and Evers were working on at the time. Medgar Evers and Ruby Hurley investigated the murder of minister George W. Lee in Belzoni, Mississippi, before they participated in the investigation of 14-year-old Emmett Till. 

People often refer to Hurley as the “queen of civil rights.” She moved from New York to Alabama in 1951 to set up the first NAACP office in the Deep South. She held the Regional Secretary of the NAACP’s Southeast Regional Office role, something unheard of for women at that period. In 1956 Hurley fled to Alabama after the state barred the NAACP from operating there. Shortly after, she opened a regional office in Atlanta, Georgia, where she lived until her death on Aug. 9, 1980.

‘Women of the Movement’: Who is Medgar Evers?

ABC’s Women of the Movement series portrays numerous civil rights activists from the 1950s, including Medgar Evers. The World War II veteran became the Mississippi field secretary for the NAACP in 1954. He also worked as a salesman for T.R.M. Howard’s Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Company. After the 1954 ruling by the Supreme Court to desegregate schools, Evers worked on numerous cases to integrate school systems and universities. He rose to prominence after his involvement in investigating Emmett Tills’ murder. Evers and his wife lived in the same town as T. R. M. Howard — Mound Bayou, Mississippi.

On June 21, 1963, Byron De La Beckwith assassinated Evers. He was rushed to a local hospital in Jackson but initially refused entry because he was Black. When his family explained who he was, they finally admitted Evers, but he died 50 minutes later. 

‘Women of the Movement’ cast — What Silva and Chirisa are known for

Viewers might recognize the actors who portray Hurley and Evers in the Women of the Movement cast — Leslie Silva and Tongayi Chirisa — from various TV shows or movies. According to IMDb, Silva’s well-known roles were in Odyssey 5Providence, and Shades of Blue. Tongayi Chirisa is well known for NBC’s CrusoeThe Jim Gaffigan Show, and Mr. Bones 2: Back from the Past

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