Malachi "The Chi" Evans was born Nov. 29, 1956, to the union of William Evans Jr. and Elizabeth Moncrief Evans of Lawrence, Mississippi, and was the youngest of their 26 children. He was 63 years old at the time of his death on July 9, 2020.
Malachi accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior at an early age and was baptized and given the right hand of fellowship at Jerusalem M.B. Church, in Lawrence, MS. Malachi was a faithful member of Jerusalem's Adult Choir as well as Jerusalem's Male Chorus for many years. He was a devoted father and grandfather who spent countless hours with his family. Although Malachi was not a recognized comedian, he certainly enjoyed making people laugh. While Malachi's life may appear to have been that of an average citizen, it was far from that. Malachi played a very significant role in the integration of the Newton City Schools system!
When he was just ten years old, Malachi became the first Black to integrate Newton's City Schools (formerly known as the 'white folks' school). Black people, who resided in Newton and Lawrence, were only allowed to attend N.H. Pilate High School, while the Newton City Schools were reserved for whites only. Malachi's parents, in their own "Black Lives Matter" protest, enrolled him, in January of 1966, in the all-white Newton Elementary School in Newton, MS. Apparently, other Black parents had vowed to enroll their children for the same Spring semester but when the day arrived, only Malachi represented. Unbeknownst to little Malachi, he was carrying the weight of Newton County's educational future on his tiny shoulders as he, alone, stood. Whether on the bus or the school's campus, he suffered unspeakable indignities at the hands of white children and adults alike--but like the true soldier that God formed him to be, he marched on. The FBI had to be called in after Malachi returned home from school one day after just having endured a horrific beating while at school. Not only had he been beaten to a bloody pulp, but his clothes had been intentionally cut up while he was still wearing them. He was spat upon and bullied on many occasions. It was not until the Fall of 1966 when some of Malachi's other family members joined him at Newton Elementary. One of his older sisters, Willie Mae Evans, became one of the first two Blacks to graduate from Newton High School in May of 1970. Newton's official "integration" did not happen until August 1970. Malachi never bragged about the fact that he had been chosen to lead such a movement towards desegregation in the Newton school system. His significant contributions to the Civil Rights Movement have never been acknowledged by the citizens of Newton, Mississippi but will never be forgotten by his loving family! Perhaps Malachi never fully realized he was putting his life on the line every time he boarded the school bus that transported him to a place where he was hated and despised for absolutely no reason other than the color of his skin. It was only by the grace of God, that a young, defenseless Malachi was able to survive the hellish environment he had to face every time he set foot on the school's campus – by the way, a school that failed to provide a safe haven for one little Black child who was only trying to get a decent education. In the midst of all of the turmoil, Malachi never wavered and ultimately helped pave the way for every child within the Newton and Lawrence areas to receive a decent education. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. And yes, we all owe him our deepest gratitude! Thank you, Malachi!
Malachi went on to become a standout football and track star for Newton High School and was offered several sports scholarships from different colleges. Malachi ultimately decided to join the United States Army in 1975, where he served two tours of duty and was later honorably discharged.
Malachi united in marriage to Tillie Harper, of Lake, MS, on Nov. 29, 1975, and to this union, four children were born. Malachi's second marriage began in November 2002 when he married the late Annie Ruth Cager of Union, MS.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Elizabeth Evans; three sons, Noah Donaldson, Bryan Boyd and Kameron M. Evans; and 18 siblings.
He leaves to cherish his memories five children, Kenshasa "MiMi" Evans, of Lawrence, Tamaria "Tammi" Collier (Leon), Brandon, MS, Shana Evans of Newton, Christopher Michael Gardner of Lawrence and Latasha McBride-Gray; step-daughter, Diannae "Pinky" Cager-Campbell (Denny), Union, MS; five brothers, Curley Evans, Rev. John T. Evans (Pearlean), Willie A. Evans (Helen), all of Lawrence, MS and Rev. Deuteronomy "Peter" Evans and David Evans, both of Newton; two sisters, Betty Evans-Brown and Willie Mae Evans both of Lawrence; fourteen grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; over 100 nieces and nephews; and a host of cousins, relatives and friends.
Visitation will be held 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2020, at the Dunlap & Thames Funeral Home, located at 103 New Ireland St., Newton, MS
Graveside service will be held 1 p.m. Thursday, July 23, 2020, at Union Chapel, Lawrence, Mississippi.