[Marxism] Emmett Till

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue May 11 09:22:20 MDT 2004

NY Times, May 11, 2004
U.S. Reopens '55 Murder Case, Flashpoint of Civil Rights Era

WASHINGTON, May 10 — Nearly a half-century after the brutal killing of 
Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black youth, in Mississippi provided a 
flashpoint in the civil rights movement, the Justice Department said 
Monday that it was opening a criminal investigation into the case in 
light of new evidence.

In a surprise announcement, prosecutors said information uncovered in 
the filming of two documentaries on the 1955 killing suggested that 
people besides the two original suspects may have been involved.

"We owe it to Emmett Till, we owe it to his mother and to his family, 
and we owe it to ourselves to see if, after all these years, any 
additional measure of justice is still possible," said R. Alexander 
Acosta, assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Justice 

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/11/national/11TILL.html


In the summer of 1955 a 14 year old African-American from Chicago went 
to visit his uncle Moses Wright in the Mississippi delta, where he eked 
out a living picking cotton. Emmett's mother Mamie Till, who died 
recently, warned him not to look at white women there and to get off the 
sidewalk if he saw one approaching.

Born in 1941, Emmett Till was a high-spirited youth with none of the 
submissive attitudes associated with growing up in the South. But he 
made a fatal mistake. When in the nearby village of Money, Mississippi 
to buy a soft drink at Roy Bryant's grocery store, he whistled at the 
man's wife.

That night Bryant and his hulking brother-in-law J. W. Milam descended 
on the Wright household and seized Emmett Till at gunpoint. They drove 
him back to their own place and beat him beyond recognition. They then 
drove him to the nearby Tallahatchie River, tied a heavy cotton gin fan 
around his neck with barbed wire, and threw him in the water. But only 
after firing a bullet into his head--he was still alive at this point.

full: http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/race/Till_Rustin.htm


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