Saturday, January 30, 2010


As Black History month begins for the year of our Lord 2010, I will use this celebrated month to resurrect the ghost of significant events and some little known history of a proud people. I will do this by posting a series of articles that I have titled the “Brownsville Series” that will highlight the enormous contributions and history of iconic segregated communities with the first being the most prosperous of them all - known as “The Black Wall Street”. This is an interesting story because most have never heard of its raise to prominence or it devastation.

However, before we journey to “Brownsville” I want to bring to your consciousness or remind you of what I believe was the most unconscionable and reprehensible events to have occurred, of the many, in our recent history. It was the MURDER of a child. 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 ridged 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 quickly acquitted 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, which was a significant 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 more than 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.”

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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