The Blood of Emmett Till

    July 12, 2018

    “I think that it’s a cynical political charade and utter hypocrisy for the Justice Department of Jeff Beauregard Sessions and Donald Trump to feign caring about a black child murdered in 1955 when they’re holding children of color in cages, when they can’t find a moral distinction between the Nazis and those who demonstrate against them, when Jeff Sessions has spent his whole career supporting restrictions on voting rights. And I think it is rich with irony.”

    -Timothy Tyson, The Blood of Emmet Till

    The Justice Department is reopening its investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till. Till was 14 when he was brutally murdered in Mississippi. Outrage over photographs of his body helped propel the civil rights movement.

    NPR report with author Timothy Tyson:

    “Mamie Bradley, Emmett’s mother, got his body back to Chicago and had an open-casket funeral. Somewhere between a hundred thousand and 250,000 people viewed the body in the course of several days. She then harnessed the power of black Chicago – the NAACP, The Chicago Defender, the Johnson Publishing Company, which was Jet and Ebony and half a dozen other magazines – all of these institutions with national reach. She inspires a movement that elevated Martin Luther King to world historical status, passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights – that national infrastructure was built by the Till case.”

    “You tell these stories over and over until they seem true.”

    -Carolyn Bryant Donham, the white woman who accused Till of harassing her.

    Till was buying candy in August 1955 when he whistled at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, according to a cousin who witnessed the encounter. Bryant also claimed he grabbed her and made obscene comments, but author Timothy Tyson says she has since retracted that claim, saying, “That part’s not true.” […] Two white men were originally prosecuted on murder charges, but in a closely watched case, an all-white jury found them not guilty. The men later confessed to a journalist that they did, in fact, kill Till, because he refused to stay in his “place” as a black man in the South. They did not express regret.


    Posted by dayle at 11:16 pm
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