JULY 25, 1941 TO AUGUST 28, 1955



As Emmett Till was leaving Chicago to visit relatives in Mississippi, his mother Mamie warned him to be respectful to the white man and always defer to him in every social situation.  Emmett, being your average teenager and not being privy to the social climate in the South, thought his mother to be overreacting.  While Emmett was in Mississippi he and another young man were in a local general store.  Emmett thought it would be funny to speak to the owner's wife in a familiar manner.  Some say that he whistled at the woman, others, that he said simply "bye, baby" as he left the store.  A couple of days later the woman's husband and his brother-in-law abducted Emmett from where he was staying   They beat him severely including gouging out one of his eyes before they shot him in the head.  They then tied a 75 lb. fan to his neck and threw him in the Tallahatchie river.  When Emmett Till's body was finally discovered he was so badly disfigured that he was unrecognizable.  He was identified by a ring that he wore.  His mother insisted on an open casket so that the world could see what had been done to her son.  A picture of Emmett's body was published in Jet magazine and it sent shock waves across the country.  It was a major event in getting the civil rights movement under way.  Four months later Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man.  The men responsible for Emmett's murder were acquitted by a white jury.  Mamie Till continued to be active in the civil rights movement up until her death.  She is buried in Burr Oak Cemetery in Chicago a few hundred feet from where her son rests.

Emmitt's story was once again in the news recently.  The government of Mississippi had erected signs in commemoration of Emmitt and as something of an apology for the wrong done him.  The signs were torn down by vandals.  For those who feel that civil rights have been achieved by all and that racism is a thing of the past, they need only listen to these latest developments and those of other recent events, such as the murder of James Byrd in 1998.  There is still a long way to go.  We have included the death photos of Emmitt to continue the idea started by his mother.  One must look the reality of hatred square in the eye. 










NOVEMBER 23, 1921 TO JANUARY 6, 2003







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