Remembering Emmett Till
Emmett Louis Till was a 14-year-old African American boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family's grocery store. Till was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. During summer vacation in August 1955, he was visiting relatives near Money, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta region. The brutality of his murder and the fact that his killers were acquitted drew attention to the long history of violent persecution of African Americans in the United States.
Image Courtesy of the Emmett Till Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Special Collections.
As a part of TCU's RRI Week 2022, keynote speaker Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr. will reflect on his experiences as the last living witness to his cousin Emmett Till’s abduction that galvanized the movement in 1955.
Wednesday, March 16, 2022 @ 6pm
Emmett Till visited family in Mississippi on August 21, 1955.
Till and friends visited a local store in Money, Mississippi on August 27, 1955.
Allegedly, Till whistled at a married white woman while visiting the store.
The affronted woman's husband and storeowner (Roy Bryant) and half-brother (J.W. Milam) kidnapped Till in the early morning of August 28, 1955.
Till's brutalized and disfigured body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River three days later.
Bryant and Milam were arrested and indicted for murder.
An all-white jury acquitted Bryant and Milam of Till's murder after deliberating for slightly longer than one hour.
Bryant and Milam confessed to murdering Till in an interview following the trial, but could not be retried for murder due to the Fifth Amendment's prohibition against double jeopardy (i.e., being tried for the same crime, twice).
The murder of a 14-year-old black boy and the subsequent trial horrified the nation and the world. Emmett Till's death was a spark that helped mobilize the Civil Rights movement.
Wheeler Parker oral history interview for the Civil Rights History Project conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Chicago, Illinois, 5/23/2011.
From Civil Rights History Project, Library of Congress