Emmett Till

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Emmett Till
Emmett Louis Till

(1941-07-25)July 25, 1941
DiedAugust 28, 1955(1955-08-28) (aged 14)
Cause of deathHomicide
Resting placeBurr Oak Cemetery
EducationJames McCosh Elementary School
Parent(s)Mamie Carthan Till-Mobley
Louis Till

Emmett Louis "Bobo" Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was an African-American boy who was lynched, tortured, and murdered in Mississippi after being accused of offending a white woman in her family's grocery store. The brutality of his murder and the fact of his killers being found not guilty drew many people's attention to the long history of wrongful persecution of African Americans in the United States.

Events of death[change | change source]

Till was from Chicago, Illinois. He went to see his relatives in the Mississippi Delta area when he spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant. She was the married owner of a small grocery store. Several nights later, Bryant's husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam, went to Till's great-uncle's house. They took Till to a barn. It is believed that they beat him and removed one of his eyes . They then shot him in the head and put his body in the Tallahatchie River. His body was found in the river three days later.

Till's body was returned to Chicago. His mother wanted on a public funeral service with an open casket. She wanted this to show the world how her son had been killed. Tens of thousands of people went to his funeral or saw his casket. Images of his body were published in black magazines and newspapers. This caused support from both black and white people in the United States. At first, local newspapers and law enforcement officials spoke against the violence and asked for justice. They soon began dealing with national criticism by defending the people of Mississippi. This led to support for the people said to be the killers.

Trial[change | change source]

The trial of those accused of killing Till had a large amount of press attention. Bryant and Milam were acquitted of Till's murder. They were not charged with his kidnapping. Months later, when they could not be tried again because of double jeopardy, they said they killed him in a magazine interview. Till's murder is considered an important event leading to the Civil Rights Movement.

Problems proving that the body was Till affected the trial. This was a part of the reason for Bryant's and Milam's acquittals. The case was reopened by the United States Department of Justice in 2004. An autopsy of the body was done. It was proven to be Till's body. He was reburied in a new casket. His old casket was given to the Smithsonian Institution.

References[change | change source]