Tag Archives: emmett till

Never Forget: The Emmett Till Story

IMG_0637Throughout America’s sorted and often shameful history, there have been many children murdered but the Murder in Money, Mississippi is the most infamous. It was this incident, the murder of a 14-year old black child from Chicago who supposedly whistled at a white woman in a grocery store whose death sparked the modern Civil Rights Movement.

The crime sounded clarion calls for a nation to wake up – just look at the photo. Till’s mutilated corpse circulated around the country mainly because of John Johnson, who published the gruesome photographs in Jet magazine, a predominately African American publication. The photo drew intense public reaction.

Till didn’t understand or knew he had broken an unwritten law of the Jim Crow South until three days later; when two white men dragged him from his bed in the dead of night, beat him brutally and then shot him in the head. That night the door to his grandfather’s house was thrown open, and Emmett was forced into a truck and driven away never again to be seen alive again. Till’s body was found swollen and disfigured in the Tallahatchie river three days after his abduction and only identified by his ring.

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Although his killers were arrested and charged with murder, they were both acquitted quickly by an all-white, all-male jury. Shortly afterward, the defendants sold their story, including a detailed account of how they murdered Till, to a journalist. The murder and the trial horrified the nation and the world. Till’s death was the spark that helped mobilize the civil rights movement. Three months after his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River the Montgomery bus boycott began.

It’s been sixty years since the events of that fateful night, and I simply cannot find the words to describe this heinous crime that has yet to receive justice. Till was one of hundred of children murdered, then and now, at the hands of a racist system much like Trayvon Martin’s death or Michael Brown’s murder in our time. We will never know the significance of their life or contribution to the world.

I’ll end by sharing these words by Maya Angelou: “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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The links below can better inform you of the facts:

The lynching of Emmett Till: a documentary narrative

By Christopher Metress
(free online book)

 

 

YOU MUST SEE THIS!!!

Purchase “Just a Season” today !!!


Accounts From Black News At The Time: The lynching of Emmett Till

462_160Now that we know that the wicked white woman involved in the Emmett Till case has finally admitted she lied about what she claimed happen that day in the raggedy country store. I began to do some research and there is a lot more to the story of Emmett’s death than was told. I found that there were black men involved in the murder! Then I came across this narrative that shed new light on the case. I hope you will find this information as interesting as I did. I am posting the entire series of article from the black press at the time, which is a must read!!!

Here is the forward from “They Stand Accused”: On September 24, 1955, an all-white Mississippi jury, after a mere sixty-seven minutes of deliberation, acquitted J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant of the murder of Emmett Till. Till a fourteen-year-old black boy from Chicago had been visiting for the first time his extended family in the Mississippi Delta. One afternoon, barely a week into his visit, he and several other youths were standing outside a white-owned grocery in the small hamlet of Money.

Apparently, Till had been boasting of his friendships with white people up North — in particular, his friendships with white girls — and the local kids, looking to call his bluff, dared him to enter the store and flirt with Carolyn Bryant, the white woman and former beauty queen who was working the cash register. Till entered the store, and what he did next is unclear. Some say he “wolf-whistled” at Bryant; others say he grabbed her hand and asked her for a date; still, others claim he did nothing more than simply say “bye, baby” to her as he left the store. Whatever Till did, it was apparent to all involved that he had done something that made Carolyn Bryant angry or afraid. Till’s friends rushed him away from the store as Bryant went to her car to get a gun.

For three days, nothing more happened, and then Roy Bryant — Carolyn’s husband — and J.W. Milam — Roy Bryant’s step-brother — struck out in the dead of night in search of young Till. They found him where they thought he’d be at two in the morning: asleep in the modest cabin of Mose Wright, his great-uncle. The two men, demanding to see the boy “who’d done the talking,” took Till forcibly from the house, and his family never saw him alive again. The next morning, at their behest, the local sheriff searched the county, and when he could not find any trace of Till he questioned and eventually arrested Milam and Bryant on kidnapping charges. When Till’s bloated and disfigured corpse surfaced three days later downstream in the Tallahatchie River, Milam and Bryant were quickly re-arrested, this time for murder.

In the weeks leading up to the trial, media coverage was enormous. Influential African American weeklies like the Chicago Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier, the New York Amsterdam News, and the Baltimore Afro-American all published loud denunciations of southern injustice and threatened to exert political and economic pressure should Mississippi fail to give Till’s case a fair hearing. In response, southern white papers, led by the conservative Jackson Daily News and the more moderate Memphis Commercial Appeal, insisted that justice would be done and that continued threats from the “liberal press” would threaten rather than secure justice in the case.

Eventually, more than seventy newspapers and magazines sent reporters to the trial, and when, against all reasonable evidence, the jury failed to convict Milam and Bryant, the denunciations were swift and strong. While apologist papers in the South argued that justice had had its day in court, African American newspapers and magazines, joined by a chorus of support from the northern white press and liberal political organizations, called for national protests and boycotts.

According to many reporters in attendance, the judicial process had failed Emmett Till, and the real question to come out of the whole trial was whether, without federal intervention, blacks could get justice in Mississippi. For another set of dissenters, however, the trial raised a different set of questions, many of them concerned with the truths of the case. Despite the best efforts of the prosecuting attorneys, the trial seemed to hide more truths than it answered as many competing testimonies were never fully explored or cross-examined. For instance, what really had happened that afternoon in the Bryant grocery? Moreover, how did Milam and Bryant find out about the alleged transgression?

Who else besides Milam and Bryant drove out to Mose Wright’s cabin that night, and who were the other men spotted with Milam at the barn the next morning? Were there really black men in Milam’s pickup that evening? If so, who were they and what had happened to them? Finally, how long did Emmett Till remain alive that night, and exactly when, where, why and how did his murder take place? A handful of investigative reporters understood that the trial did not answer these questions fully and that the truth, more likely than not, had been obscured by the proceedings.

Among the investigative reporters at the trial, none played a more significant role than James L. Hicks. Hicks began his career as a reporter for the Cleveland Call and Post in 1935 and later moved on to the Baltimore Afro-American. As one of the premier investigative journalists of his generation, Hicks was also the Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the National Negro Press Association, which served more than one hundred newspapers. In 1955, he became executive director of the New York Amsterdam News, a position he would hold for the good part of twenty years.

As the first black member of the State Department Correspondents Association and the first black reporter cleared to cover the United Nations, Hicks was truly a pioneer in the field. His coverage of the Till trial ran in dozens of African-American newspapers, and in the following piece of investigative journalism — which ran in four installments in October 1955 — he tells about the role he played in discovering the existence of “missing witnesses” to the murder. Hicks’s work in this area actually forced a trial recess on Tuesday, September 20, as the prosecution called for time to track down these newly discovered witnesses.

In this series of articles — which ran in the Baltimore Afro-American, the Cleveland Call and Post and the Atlanta Daily World — Hicks argues that the forces of law in Mississippi conspired to prevent the full evidence of Milam and Bryant’s guilt from surfacing at the trial. The version reprinted here draws its structure from the installments published in the Cleveland Call and Post, which presented the most condensed rendering of Hicks’s articles. Passages omitted from the Cleveland Call and Post articles, but included in some form or another in either the Atlanta Daily World or the Baltimore Afro-American, have been inserted throughout and marked by the addition of brackets.

Follow this link for the entire series here that is shocking and a must read about the actual accounts written at the time!!! http://www.archipelago.org/vol6-1/hicks.htm


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