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Emmett Till Essay

1376 words - 6 pages

Emmett Till (1941-1955)
Background and Early Years:

Emmett Louis "Bobo" Till was born on July 25, 1941 and was a 14-year-old Black boy from Chicago who was brutally murdered in Money, Miss., a small town in the state's delta region. His murder has been cited as one of the key events that energized the nascent Civil Rights Movement. The primary suspects in the case of his death were acquitted, but they later admitted to committing the crime. Till's mother, Mamie, insisted on a public funeral service with an open casket to let everyone see the manner in which he had been brutally killed. He had been shot, beaten and had his eye gouged out before he was then thrown into the Tallahatchie River with a 75-pound cotton gin fan tied to his neck with barbed wire to weigh him down. His body stayed in the river for three days until it was discovered and retrieved by two fishers. Till's body rests in Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Ill. The murder case was officially reopened in May of 2004, and as a part of the investigation, the body was exhumed so an autopsy could be performed. The body was reburied by the family in the same location later in that week. Till was the son of Mamie and Louis Till. Emmett's mother was born to John and Alma Carthan in the small town of Webb, Miss. When she was 2 years old, her family moved to Illinois. Mamie raised Till on her own mostly, as she and Louis separated when Till was only a year old. Louis was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943. While serving in Italy, he was convicted of raping two women and killing a third. The Army executed him by hanging in July of 1945. Prior to Till's death; the family knew none of the details of Louis' hanging. They only knew that Louis had been killed due to "willful misconduct," as they were told by the Army. But after Till was murdered, the facts of Louis' execution were made widely known by segregationist Sen. James Eastland in an apparent attempt to turn public support away from Mamie and the Till family tragedy just weeks before the trials of Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, two of the murder suspects. This information was released by Eastland in an attempt to show that criminal behavior ran in the Till family. How It All Started: In 1955, Till and his cousin were sent for a summer stay with Till's great-uncle, Moses Wright, who lived in Money, Miss. Before his departure for the delta, Mamie cautioned him to "mind his manners" with White people. Mamie understood that race relations in Mississippi were very different from those in Chicago. The state had seen many lynchings during the South's lynching era, which was from, 1876-1930, roughly. She knew racially-motivated murders were not uncommon still, especially in the delta region, where Till was going to visit. Racial tensions were also on the rise after the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education that ended segregation in public education.Till arrived in Mississippi on August 21; on August 24, he joined other...

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