Wednesday, September 2, 2009


On August 28, 1955, Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old black boy from Chicago supposedly whistled at a white woman in a grocery store in Money, Mississippi. Till didn't understand that 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.

Although his killers were arrested and charged with murder, they were both acquitted quickly by an all-white, all-male jury. Shortly afterwards, 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 a 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 fifty-four 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. So 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.”

The links below can better inform you of the facts:

Bob Dylan’s four minutes of fact.

The lynching of Emmett Till: a documentary narrative
By Christopher Metress
(free online book)

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