aug 8, 1955 - Murder of Emmett Till
Emmett Till was a young black boy of 14 years who was brutally murdered in the town of Money, Mississippi. Emmett was from Chicago, a relatively less racist state than Mississippi, so his attitudes towards the white members of money, while perfectly normal and innocent, were perceived as serious insults. He told some male friends in a convenience store that a white girl on the photo he carried was his girlfriend- and to accentuate his point he introduced himself to a white woman in the convenience store, leaving her by saying 'bye, baby.'
Four days later, Mose Right, Emmett's great uncle, was forced to put him in a van by two White men. Emmett was forced to carry a 75-pound cotton-gin fan to the bank of the Tallahatchie River. The perpetrators, the white lady's husband and brother, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eyes, shot him in the head, and then threw his body, tied to the cotton-gin fan with barbed wire, into the river.
Mose Right, Emmett's great uncle, had to identify the body, reportedly so disfigured that he could only identify him by the initials on his ring. Emmett's body was shipped back to Chicago were his mother insisted on an open casket ‘so the whole world could see what they did to my boy.' Jet magazine showed his corpse- beaten, mutilated, and shot through the head.
A generation of Black people would remember that photo. ‘For him to have died as a hero, meant more to the me than if he had just died.’- mother of Till.
Although, despite clear evidence, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam (pictured below) were acquitted for their murder of Emmett by an all White jury in Mississippi, heightening the injustice further. Emmett's case brought the issue of Civil Rights to the forefront of American newspapers, while demonstrating the severe avoidance of justice at the foundation of the USA's law system.
Added to timeline:
International Baccalaureate History- The Civil Rights Movement