>EMMETT TILL WAS LYNCHED BECAUSE HE WAS A PROUD BLACK MAN IN 1955! -BLACKS WERE FINALLY FED UP AND THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT WHEN BLACK STARTED FIGHTING BACK SYSTEMATICALLY!-BLACK MEN ARE STILL BEING LYNCHED IN AMERIKKKA!

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Emmett Till was a fourteen year-old, African American boy who was viciously and mercilessly murdered three days after whistling at Carolyn Bryant, who was the wife of a white store owner named Roy Bryant. This incident occurred while he was visiting some of his family members in an area near Money, Mississippi in 1955 during that summer. Afterward, he was unrecognizable because all of the distinctive features of his face had been destroyed. His mother, Mamie Bradley, was so enraged by this occurrence that she held a funeral in which the entire body is shown for him so that the public could witness the effects of the unnecessary and immoral murder of her son. The massacre of Emmett Till would forever be noted as the spark that ignited the Civil Rights Movement and encouraged many leaders to step forward in order to stand up for equal rights.



Emmett Louis Till, the only son of Louis and Mamie Till, was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 25, 1941. Emmet was primarily raised by his mother because his father was drafted into the U.S. Army by 1943, serving far away from his family in Italy. Spending most of his life with his loving mother, she decided to allow Emmett to spend his summer down in Money, Mississippi with his cousins and Uncle Mose Wright when Emmet was 14 years old in 1955. Emmett was eager to explore the south and
Emmett Till & Mamie Till
Emmett Till & Mamie Till

visit his relatives; however, he was unsure about the danger and prejudice that he would be exposed to. Before Emmett bid farewell to his mother, she warned him to be on his best behavior, especially when he associates with white folks down in the South because she was aware about the segregation and racism that led to the many murders that had taken place frequently.


When Emmett arrived on the 21st of August with his cousin Curtis Jones from the train, they both stayed with Emmett’s Great-Uncle Mose Wright, a cotton sharecropper who lives along the Mississippi Delta. At this time before the Civil Rights Movement, Tallahatchie County in Money, Mississippi had much stricter Jim Crow Laws than Chicago, especially since the Supreme Court had forced integration in southern schools. On August 24, 1955, the boys drove around the town and stopped at Bryant’s Grocery Store to purchase some candy. Emmett was bragging and showing his friends a picture of his white girlfriend outside the grocery and meat market. Consequently, the boys dared him to enter into the store and ask the white woman behind the counter out on a date, but since he was unaware of the severity of the consequences of breaking Jim Crow Laws, h
Bryant's Grocery Store
Bryant’s Grocery Store

e took on the challenge. On his way out of the store, Emmett said, “Bye baby,” and whistled at Carolyn Bryant, who worked behind the counter and was the store owner’s wife. Reports of his bold actions spread quickly through Tallahatchie County.


When this incident occurred, Roy Bryant, the owner of the market was away, but when he returned three days later and heard about it, he and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, set out to get revenge on Emmett.(2) They planned to simply beat Emmett with their .45 pistols and show him the waters of the Tallahatchie River to frighten him. (3) Mose Wright reported that at 2:30 the next morning, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam came into his home, armed with pistols and flashlights to kidnap Emmett. (2) Mose didn’t think that they would kidnap and eventually kill Emmett, but that they would simply talk to him, so he released Emmett. (3) In less than twenty-four hours, Milam and Bryant were apprehended on kidnapping charges, which they admitted to, but denied that they murdered Emmett. (2)



After kidnapping Emmett, they took him into the back of Milam’s home to beat him with pistols, but he antagonized them the entire time and never showed pain or remorse, so they took him to the Progressive Ginning Company to get a seventy-five pound fan, which was part o

Emmett's Identification RIng
Emmett’s Identification RIng

f a cotton gin. Afterward, they transported him to the bank of the Tallahatchie River, where they forced him to carry the fan to a certain spot, and ordered him to remove his clothing, and asked if he still thought that they were joking. When he still didn’t appear to be afraid and taunted them again, J.W. Milam shot Emmett in the head near his ear. After shooting him, they tied him up with barbed wire to the fan and threw his dead body into the Tallahatchie River, which had a depth of twenty feet. Afterward, they burned his clothing, probably to remove evidence. Three days later, two fishermen found the disfigured body of Emmett Till floating in the Tallahatchie River. (3)It was almost impossible to determine the owner of the body because the face was so badly disfigured. Emmett’s right eye had been gouged out, he had a broken nose, and there was a bullet hole in the side of his head where he had been shot. Moses Wright was only able to identify the body because of the ring with his father’s initials on Emmett’s finger.

Roy Bryant & J.W. Milam
Roy Bryant & J.W. Milam



Emmett Till’s mom, Mamie immediately went to Mississippi to identify her son’s body after she was inform
ed from Mose Wright. After she was notified by the news of her son’s gruesome murder, she had his body sent back to Chicago, where she had a funeral with an open casket so that the public could witness the effects of the unnecessary and violent murder of her 14 year old son. There were 50,000 people who attended his funeral, including reporters from Jet Magazine, which brought international attention to the lynching. (4)

The trial of Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam occurred on September 19, 1955 in Sumner, Mississippi. There were 12 white men from Tallahatchie County in the jury of the murder trial, as African-Americans and women weren’t allowed to serve in this jury. At the trial, Bryant a
The Mutilation of Emmett Till's Face
The Mutilation of Emmett Till’s Face

nd Milam claimed that they had safely released Emmett after kidnapping him on that fateful night, that Emmett was still alive. and that Emmett’s body wasn’t the body that was found in the Tallahatchie River. Although it was difficult to find witnesses for the case, Willie Reed testified, saying that he heard screaming being emitted from the Milam home, Mose Wright testified to the fact that Bryant and Milam had kidnapped Emmett, and Mamie, his mother, testified that the body was indeed Emmett’s.Even though there was substantial evidence against them, Bryant and Milam were released free of charges. After the trial, they were paid 4,000 by Look Magazine for their confession to the murder of Emmett Till, but were never punished for this heinous crime. (4)


What started the whole problem was Carolyn Bryant and her testimony that enraged her husband to seek revenge in Emmett Till. During the trial, she testified that she was by herself in the store until a group of black kids was out front. She claims that Emmett entered the store to purchase some bubble gum, so she handed him the gum, but he grabbed her hand and asked for a date. She declares that she wasn’t interested in a date but Emmett wouldn’t let her get by. Eventually Emmett left the store and went back outside. She wanted to go obtain a gun in her husband’s car and Emmett gave her the “Wolf Whistle.” According to Carolyn’s testimonies, these could be many of the possible events that could have taken place that evening, yet we are still unsure until this very day as to what actually really happened, and what Carolyn testified to the jury.



The murder of Emmett Louis Till sparked the Civil Rights Movement because it portrayed the gruesome effects of racism and discrimination throughout the world. The death of 14 year old Emmett gave whites a bad reputation, which contributed to the rise of new Civil Rights Movements that ended segregation and inequality. Very much like a domino effect, the murder of Emmett Till shortly led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling segregation in public recreational facilities unconstitutional, then with Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat to a white male on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and then the Montgomery Bus Boycott was set off in motion. The Emmett Till Case inspired many individuals to stand up for what they believed in because Milam and Bryant were most definitely not innocent. During that time period, prejudice was so dreadful that witnesses who decide to testify must be escorted to and from their destination with safety precautions. A major impact of the Emmett Till Trial would be Dr. Martin Luther King. He was a big contributor towards the Civil Rights Movement, particularly when he gave his first civil rights speech and becomes president of the Montgomery Improvement Association. As a dedication towards the Emmet Till Trial, the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was developed, thus leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. giving his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington. All of these events signify the beginning of the black civil rights movement in America, and in the end, President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, banning discrimination and segregation.
citation.jpg

[1.] Cozzens, Lisa. “The Murder of Emmett Till”. June 2,2009
<http://www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/early-civilrights/emmett.html>.

[2.] Crowe, Chris. “The Lynching of Emmett Till”. The History of Jim Crow. June 2,2009
<http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/resources/lessonplans/hs_es_emmett_till.htm>.

[3.] Huie, Bradford, William. “The Shocking Story of Approved killing in Mississipi”. Spartacus Educational. June 2,2009 <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/till/sfeature/sf_look_confession.html>.

[4.]
McElrath, Jessica. “The Murder of Emmett Till”. About.com, a part of The New York Times Company. June 1,2009 <http://afroamhistory.about.com/od/emmetttill/a/emmetttill_2.htm>.

[5.] Moody, Anne. ” Emmett Till”. Spartacus Educational. June 2,2009
<http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAtillE.htm>.

[6.] “Timeline: The Murder of Emmett Till”. PBS. June 2,2009
<http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/till/timeline/timeline2.html>.

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