60 YEAR AGO TODAY: An African- American young man, Emmett Louis Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was violently murdered by Bryant and Milam in Mississippi at the young age of 14, after reportedly flirting/ whistling at or to a white woman depending on the version relayed by those present.
Till was from Chicago, visiting his relatives in Mississippi in the Delta region, when he spoke to then 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the married store owner of a small grocery store there. Several nights later, Bryant's husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam went to Till's great-uncle's house. They kidnapped Emmett Till away to a barn, where they beat him, gouged out one of his eyes, tortured him, shooting him through the head and finally dumping his body in the Tallahatchie River. The murderers weighted Emmett Till’s body down with a 70-pound cotton gin fan that was tied around his neck with barbed wire. Emmett was dragged into the river by the weight around his neck and left. Three days later, Till's body was discovered and retrieved from the river.
In a profound moment, Emmet Till’s mother Mamie Till decided to have an open casket funeral so that the world could see the horrors that blacks faced. Emmet Till’s body lay bloated, beaten, and barely recognizable in a casket while Black America and the world mourned his life. America broke out into riots, boycotts, and protests as the injustices came to light. Many credit Mamie Till's actions as a much needed catalyst for the Civil Right Movements to push forward. 59 years later, 18 year old Mike Brown was fatally shot several times by Darren Wilson. His parents allowed his body on the concrete ground for hours as a sadly stunning visual of police brutality and racism by classification. Darren Wilson was not indicted and received no punishments as his predecessors before him Roy, Milam, and Bryant.
Today 60 years later, young black boys are still being lynched. Mothers and fathers are still making bold moves to confront the ugly underbelly of America to show that evil will not win. Today, young black boys are STILL being murdered in the name of defense. Witnesses are STILL being violated, threatened, or urged to change truths. Today, I am a young Black man and I am writing so that we do not forget that what we see today is not just for today. Unfortunately, this is a historical and systematically repeated failure of a system and country to value young black lives so that we may enjoy our old black lives.
Emmet Till's mother showed us 60 years ago how ugly America can be when justice is not served and Black Lives are not valued to matter. Mike Brown's mother showed us in 2014 how ugly America can be when justice is not served and Black Lives are not valued to matter. So do not become angry when I demand that you value my life! We have been asking and demanding for some time now and the results have been very much the same. R.I.P to all the fallen: named and unnamed, found and unfound, may God grant peace to these storms. #beLOVE #urbanTHOUGHTS
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