What We Still Do Not Know about Emmett Till
In 1955, just past daybreak, a Chevrolet truck pulled up to an unmarked building. A 14-year-old child was in the back.
The article is part of “Inheritance,” a project about American history and Black life.. It is a good offering by The Atlantic, “His Name Was Emmett Till,” Wright Thompson
Introduction: “The killing of Emmett till was early on the morning of August 28, 1955. Occurring, one month and three days after his 14th birthday. The decision to show his body in an open casket was his mother’s. Allowing Jet magazine to publish photos and “Letting the world see what I’ve seen,” she said became a call to action.
Three months after his murder, Rosa Parks kept her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. She later told Mamie Till that she’d been thinking of Emmett when she refused to move. Almost 60 years later, after Trayvon Martin was killed, Oprah Winfrey channeled the thoughts of many Americans in evoking the memory and the warning of Emmett Till.”
An Excellent Read
On February 5, 1994, white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith is convicted in the murder of African American civil rights leader Medgar Evers, over 30 years after the crime occurred. Evers was gunned down in the driveway of his Jackson, Mississippi, home on June 12, 1963, while his wife, Myrlie, and the couple’s three small children were inside…
The description of the trial and acquittal of the defendants was interesting. It seems that the jury clearly was operating under social expectations in finding them not guilty. Could well have been their inclination anyway. Fast forward to 2021 and imagine a non-sequestered jury weighing the evidence of a murder case in a courthouse visibly prepped for violence and being well aware that the preparations are there only for a not guilty verdict and also being aware that accurate, all-but-name descriptions of their identities have already been widely circulated.