The Emmett Till murder shined a light on the horrors of segregation and racism on the United States. Emmett Till, a young Chicago teenager, was visiting family in Mississippi during the month of August in 1955, but he was entering a state that was far more different than his hometown. Dominated by segregation, Mississippi enforced a strict leash on its African American population. After apparently flirting with a white woman, which was deeply frowned upon at this time in history, young Till was brutally murdered. Emmett Till’s murder became an icon for the Civil Rights Movement, and it helped start the demand of equal rights for all nationalities and races in the United States.
In the summer of 1955, Mamie Till, Emmett Till’s mother, kissed her only son goodbye as he boarded a train to Mississippi and left to visit his family. She constantly reminded the youth of the unavoidable racism in the state and the vast differences between Chicago and Mississippi. Mamie Till feared for her son’s safety as he was not aware of how to act towards the unforgiving white population, and if a black person went against the orders of a white person, it could lead to the beating, or in some cases, even death, of the black man. In the south, the authorities would often turn their heads once an African American was beaten or murdered. (Contemporary Black Biography)
Shortly after arriving in Mississippi, the youth was put to work in picking cotton with the rest of his cousins. On one particularly hot day and after picking cotton, Emmett and a few other black boys went to a local store in Money, Mississippi. The store, which was owned and ran by a young white couple named Carolyn and Roy Bryant, catered mainly to the black field workers in the small town. Till, after bragging about his beautiful white girlfriend in Chicago, was dared to ask out Mrs. Bryant on a date. The blithe youth, while buying candy from the shop, flirted aimlessly with Carlyon. She was repulsed and slightly scared since Till was noticeably larger than her; she quickly went to the back of the store and retrieved a gun which caused the black teenagers to drive away. However, as the boys drove off, Till allegedly whistled at Mrs. Bryant. His actions, although minimal, were enough to be fatal to the youth’s life. (Young, Gary)
Several days after Till flirted with the young store owner, the youth was abruptly awakened by Roy Bryant and his half-brother JW Milam. Much to the protests of Moses Wright, Till’s uncle, the two men kidnapped Emmett Till and threw him in the back of their pick-up truck. Although their first intentions were to merely scare the youth, the night took a turn for the worst once Emmett began to resist the men and their attempts to subdue the boy. They brutally beat the boy and hit him several times with their guns. Bryant and Milam dragged the boy near the Tallahatchie River while making Emmett carry a cotton gin fan. Stripping Till of all his clothes, the men shot him in the head...