Emmett Till: a Case of Racism

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  All throughout history there has been an unbelievable amount of racism. So many times someone has been judged for the color of their skin. One example of this shameless hate is the murder of young Emmett Till on August 28, 1955. Emmett was just a normal kid.. When all of the trouble started, he was just acting the same way most teenagers do. Completing a harmless dare called on by his friends. The horrific way he was murdered threw the black community into a fit of rage all across America. Till was just a young teenage boy whos’ death forever changed the way people look at racism.

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   Young Emmett lived a fairly regular life, he was always a happy kid. Till was born on July 25, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois. His parents are Louis and Mamie Till, sadly his father Louis died while serving in the US military when Emmett was just three. He was a very diligent and sweet boy. Emmett spent most of his time helping around the neighborhood. He shared a very close bond with his mother Mamie. Emmett worked crazy amounts, working extremely hard to make sure his mother would never be too weary or overstretched. However, according to Mamie, he was an ghastly and sick child. He was born with speech defect that caused him to stutter, he also had polio when he was very young. Even though he was things did not look that good for Emmett, he had a great character and was a very caring child.

   The racism was less sever where he lived in Chicago although he still lived in a segregated neighborhood. The summer of 1955, Emmett and his cousins begged to be allowed to take a fun trip to Money, Mississippi, a small town with a little population of 55. Emmett wanted to spend his summer with his cousins and spend a little bit of time out of the city. Till stayed with his great-uncle Mose Wright and his great-aunt Elizabeth Wright. Him and his cousins were having a blast running around the town of Money. Going to play in the fields and hanging out the town stores. Emmett and his cousins had no fear of the whites. They even explained how they had white girlfriends back in Chicago.

On August 24th, Emmett made his way to a corner store named Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market, he wanted to buy some bubblegum. . As he traveled out of the store, it was said that he made an inappropriate comment or gesture towards the owners wife, Carolyn Bryant.  Some evidence suggests the Emmett did say Bye, baby! (Crowe 54-55). There are other rumors that suggest that he asked her on a date and tried to hold her hand. There is also evidence that he whistled at her. According to Mamie Till, she had taught Emmett to whistle when he had trouble with a word because of his speech defect. ‘I had taught Emmett that when you get hooked on a word, just whistle and go ahead and say it (Curry 4). Not one person knows exactly what Emmett did or said to Carolyn. Whatever happened, it does not justify what happened to Emmett a few days later.

   On Sunday,  August 25, 1955, Roy Bryant, Carolyn’s husband, and J.W. Milam drove to Mose Wright’s home.They stormed up to the house, and demanded to see Emmett. Till’s great- grandfather Mose Wright knew all about the brutality in the south unlike Emmet. With a lot hesitation, Mose lets the men take Emmett in hopes that they would only beat him and return him home by morning (Crowe 14-16, 58, 60). The men only drove a few miles to a nearby plantation. They took Emmet and threw him into a shed. Not a soul truly know what they did to Emmett Till that night. However, one witness by the name of Willie Reed, did hear sounds coming from the shed. Willie explained how he heard noises coming from the shed,  heard sounds of beating and cries of ‘Mama, Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy!’ coming from. the shed (Crowe 60). Reed has also stated that he saw black workers cleaning out blood from the back of the pickup.

    That next morning, Saturday August 26, 1955, Emmett never showed back up to Mose Wright’s home.  Till’s body was found the morning of August 31, 1955. He was found in the Tallahatchie River near Greenwood, Mississippi. He was beat past recognition, his face and body were mutilated. The only way they were able to identify Emmett was the monogram ring that had once belonged to his father before he passed. The trial for the two men did not last long, both Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam were clear of all charges that were held against them and walked free. The story about young Emmett Till changed the way people thought racial issues and may have even changed the course of the civil rights movement.

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Emmett Till: A Case Of Racism. (2019, Aug 11). Retrieved February 8, 2023 , from

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