June 25, 2001
April 29, 2019
Age at Death:
Emmett Till was an African American boy who was born in Mississippi, but would eventually move to Chicago in order to escape the violence of the Southern states. He contracted polio at the age of six. He was raised by his grandmother and his mother until his mother got remarried. The family traveled back to Mississippi to visit their family following the Brown v. Board of Education ruling during summer vacation in August of 1955.
Emmett Till and some other boys visited the local grocery store where Emmett spoke with the proprieter's wife. Emmett was accused of flirting with her. Later that night, the owner of the shop and his friend kidnapped Emmett from the house he was staying at, took him to a barn in the town, beat him up, then tied him to a large fan blade, shot him in the head, and dumped him into the Tallahatchie river. His body was found 3 days later. His body was sent back to Chicago where his mother insisted on an open casket funeral so all could see what had been done to this 14-year old boy. This action raised awareness across the countries of the horrors of lynching and the rampant racism that led to his death.
Was justice served?
Justice has never been served for Emmett. While there was a trial, the all-white jury did not convict the men who murdered Emmett. Later, these murders gave an interview acknowledging that they were the ones who had killed Emmet and protected by the Double Jeopardy amendment in the Bill of Rights. Emmett Till's murder is seen as one of the motivations for the Civil Rights Movement which included the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycotts that began in December of 1955.