Growing up I remember that my mother used to watch all these movies about civil rights and me being the curious person that I am would go and sit and ask what are you watching. You know she never shunned me away from watching what I’d learn was the history of my culture. This month I decided to post something everyday regarding Black History so those that don’t know can learn. I know that my daughter is growing up and learning some of the things that our race went through and as a mother it’s hard to watch your daughter who is so innocent look at such horrible things. I think explaining the past is worst than having the talk about sex. I personally don’t want her growing up to hate another race because of things that happen in the past.
This morning I decide to post information and pictures of Emmett Till. He was a 14 year old boy from Chicago that went to Mississippi in 1955 to visit family and never returned. His murder played a big part in the civil rights movement.
On Wednesday night of August 24th, Emmett, his cousins, and some local kids were hanging out on the front porch of Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market, playing checkers, listening to music, and telling stories. While talking about life up North, Emmett showed off some photographs and joked that a white girl in one picture was his girlfriend. One of the boys in the group laughed and said, “There’s a pretty little white woman in there in the store. Since you Chicago cats know so much about white girls, let’s see you go in there and get a date with her.”
The boy’s challenge stunned the southern kids, because they knew the dangers of a black male talking to a white woman. Asking a white woman on a date was unthinkable! But, Emmett had no comprehension of the severe penalties inflicted on blacks who broke Jim Crow laws in the South, and he walked into the store while the kids outside crowded against the windows to see what would happen.
When he left the store a few minutes later, witnesses reported that Emmett turned, said “Bye, baby,” and whistled the two-note ‘wolf whistle’ at the white woman who worked behind the counter.
News of the Chicago boy’s crazy stunt zipped through the county like lightning, and, by the time, Roy Bryant, the woman’s husband returned from a road trip three days later, everyone–black and white–in Tallahatchie County had heard the story. When Bryant heard it, he decided he and his half-brother, J. W. Milam, had to punish Emmett for being disrespectful to his wife. The two men planned to meet around 2:00 a.m. on Sunday to “teach the boy a lesson.”
In the early morning hours—between 2:00 and 3:30—on Sunday, August 28, 1955, Roy Bryant, Milam, and another man (who may have been black) drove to Mose Wright’s house. Milam was armed with a pistol and a flashlight. He asked Wright if he had three boys in the house from Chicago. Till shared a bed with another cousin; there were eight people in the small two-bedroom cabin. Milam asked Wright to take them to “the nigger who did the talking”. When they asked Till if it was he, he replied, “Yeah”, for which they threatened to shoot him and told him to get dressed. The men threatened to kill Wright if he reported what he had seen. Till’s great-aunt offered the men money, but they did not respond. They put Till in the back of a pickup truck and drove to a barn at the Clint Shurden Plantation in Drew. Till was pistol-whipped and placed in the bed of the pickup truck again and covered with a tarpaulin. Throughout the course of the night, Bryant, Milam, and witnesses recall them being in several locations with Till. According to some witnesses, they took Till to a shed behind Milam’s home in the nearby town of Glendora where they beat him again and tried to decide what to do. Witnesses recall between two and four white men and two and four black men who were either in or surrounding the pickup truck where Till was seated. Others passed by Milam’s shed to the sounds of someone being beaten. Accounts differ as to when Till was shot; either in Milam’s shed or by the Tallahatchie River. He was driven to Bryant’s store where several people noticed blood pooling in the truck bed. Bryant explained he killed a deer, and in one instance showed the body to a black man who questioned him, saying “that’s what happens to smart niggers.
In an interview with William Bradford Huie in Look magazine in 1956, Bryant and Milam stated that their intention was to beat Till and throw him off an embankment into the river to frighten him. They told Huie that while they were beating Till, however, he called them bastards, declared he was as good as they, and had in the past had sexual encounters with white women. They then put Till in the back of their truck, drove to a cotton gin to take a 70-pound (32 kg) fan—the only time they admitted to being worried, thinking that by this time in early daylight they would be spotted and accused of stealing—and drove for several miles along the river looking for a place to dispose of Till. They shot him by the river and weighted his body with the fan.[note 3]
Three days after his abduction, Till’s swollen and disfigured body was found by two boys fishing in the Tallahatchie River. His head was very badly damaged, he had been shot above the right ear, an eye was dislodged from the socket, there was evidence that he had been beaten on the back and the hips, and his body weighted to the fan blade, fastened around his neck with barbed wire. He was nude, but wearing a silver ring with the initials “L. T.” and “May 25, 1943” carved in it.[37
The A. A. Rayner Funeral Home in Chicago received Till’s body, and upon arrival, Bradley insisted on viewing it to make a positive identification, later stating that the stench from it was noticeable two blocks away. She decided to have an open casket funeral, saying “There was just no way I could describe what was in that box. No way. And I just wanted the world to see.” Tens of thousands of people lined the street outside the mortuary to view Till’s body, and days later thousands more attended his funeral at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ. Photographs of his mutilated corpse circulated around the country, notably appearing in Jet magazine and The Chicago Defender, both black publications, and drew intense public reaction. According to The Nation and Newsweek, Chicago’s black community was “aroused as it has not been over any similar act in recent history”.[note 5] Till was buried September 6 in Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois