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Emmett Till would have turned 79 today.
If you don’t know the story of Emmett Till, you should. It is one of the main catalysts of the civil rights movement.
Till was 14 years old, visiting family in Mississippi. He spoke to a white woman in a store.
She went home and told her husband. Three nights later her husband Roy Bryant and his brother went to Till’s uncle’s house and took Till out at gunpoint.
They pistol whipped him. They beat him for hours. Finally, they shot him in the face, tied a 75 pound fan to him and threw him in the Tallahatchee river. His body was discovered three days later.
His mom Mimi is one of the biggest heroes of the civil rights movement in my opinion. She had the body taken back to Chicago, and demanded an open casket funeral. She wanted the world to see what happened to a black kid for talking to a white woman in the south. Nearly 30,000 people came to view the body. Pictures were shown in national magazines. There was outrage from coast to coast.
The woman that Till allegedly talked to was Carol Bryant. She was 21 years old. She testified in court that Till had “grabbed her and verbally harassed her” and “I was just scared to death.”
***just before her death in 2017, Bryant admitted that she wasn’t telling the truth.
Pretty much everyone in the town of Money, Mississippi knew who did it. The trial lasted five days. Jurors were allowed to drink beer during the trial. The judge greeted African Americans in the courtroom with two words to start the trial, “Hello Ni#####s” The jury deliberated for 67 minutes. One of the jurors laughed and said, “If we hadn’t of stopped to drink soda, it wouldn’t have taken that long.
They returned a unanimous “not guilty” verdict.
Why wouldn’t they?
No white person had ever been convicted of murder against a black person at that point in Mississippi.
Emmett Till should still be alive. He was killed 6 decades ago because he spoke to a white woman.
If you want to help in the fight for a better future, you need to understand the past.
For those wanting to learn, history is always ready to teach.