Thursday, 25 July 2013

the death of emmett till

 Emmet Till and his mother

The Jury - who thought Bryant and Milam were guilty, but didn't deserve a life sentence or the death penalty for killing  a black man, so acquitted them

The murderers

I first heard about the death of Emmet Till through the song by Bob Dylan, but after re-reading about it recently, it is amazing to think that it only happened in 1955, ten years after the end of the Second Word War.
Till (aged 14) had supposedly wolf whistled at Carolyn Bryant, a shop girl in Money, Mississippi, and was subsequently beaten, an eye gouged out, fatally shot, and then thrown into the Tallahatchie river.
While there was outage after the body was found, and the open casket funeral to show Till's beaten and disfigured face, there was even more when the all white jury found the killers, Roy Bryant and J.W Milam (Carolyn's husband and his half brother) to be not guilty.  The killers later gave a paid interview to Look magazine in 1956, where they admitted what they had done, but because of Double Jeopardy, they could not be retried, and they went on with their lives, with Bryant not dying until 1994, aged 63.
Despite the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr preaching non violence, and the rapid escalation of the Civil Rights movement due in no small part to this case, l'd still have wanted to extract revenge on the murderers.
Just over 50 years ago - that is no time at all as far as history is concerned, and sadly, there are still plenty of people about now who still harbour the white supremacy attitude, and probably think what happened to Till was justified.

toodle pip

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