Emmett Till was an African-American teenager who was lynched in 1955 for allegedly insulting a white woman in a store. Emmett Louis Till was born on July 25, 1941, in Chicago, Illinois, to Mamie Carthan and Louis Till. Emmett’s mother left him when he was a baby after discovering his father had been unfaithful. Louis Till was executed in 1945 for the murder of an Italian woman. Emmett contracted polio at the age of six and developed a permanent stutter as a result. Emmett grew up in a busy Chicago neighborhood, and his mother worked as a civilian clerk for the United States Air Force. On August 24, 1955, while visiting his cousin in Mississippi, Emmett and some other boys went to Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market to buy candy. Emmett was lynched on August 28 as a result of false allegations about a grocery store visit that were later proven to be false.
Two men murdered Emmett Till early in the morning on August 28, 1955.
Emmett allegedly made remarks to a white woman in the grocery store owned by her husband and herself.
The allegations were later proven to be false. He allegedly whistled at Carolyn Bryant and made physical and verbal advances toward her. She testified in court, but later recanted her testimony when she was in her 70s.
Roy Bryant, Carolyn Bryant’s husband, and his friend John William Milam abducted Emmett from his uncle Mose Wright’s home between 2 and 3:30 a.m.
The two men drove Emmett to a barn in Money, Mississippi. They pistol whipped Emmett until he was unconscious along the way.
Emmett’s body was discovered in the Tallahatchie River three days after he was kidnapped. He had been beaten, hung, shot, and weighed down to sink in the river, according to evidence.
Emmett’s mother chose an open casket funeral to draw attention to the crimes against African Americans.
Several prominent Civil Rights Movement figures, including Medgar Evers and Amzie Moore, became involved in the case.
Roy Bryant and John Milam were investigated and charged in the death of Emmett Till.
A number of attorneys offered to represent the accused murderers for free.
In September 1955, the trial was held in Sumner. It lasted 5 days, and the murderers were found not guilty. The jury was entirely composed of white men. Women and blacks were not permitted).
The verdict sparked outrage around the world.
In 1956, the two acquitted murderers admitted to committing the crime. They could not be tried for murder again in the United States due to the country’s double jeopardy law.
The two murderers were effectively boycotted, and their businesses failed.
Several films have been made, and the investigation into what happened to Emmett Till continues.
The case was reopened in 2004 to determine whether anyone else was involved in Emmett’s murder.
In Montgomery, Alabama, there is a granite sculpture with the names of 40 people who died during the Civil Rights Movement, including Emmett Till.