Updated: Nov 9, 2022
By Journey Artis
Emmett Till was just fourteen years of age when he visited his family in Money, Mississippi. His great uncle was a sharecropper and Till and his cousins would help him on his farm. On August 24, 1955, after Till and his cousins spent a long day helping pick cotton, they then went to the store to buy refreshments. There are many accounts of what happened that day in the store, but there are certain details. Till went into the store and bought a pack of bubblegum, and later that day, Carolyn Bryant reported that he had flirted with her. In the early hours of August 28, Roy Bryant, who was Carolyn’s husband, and his half-brother stormed into Till’s great uncle’s house and kidnapped him. They beat him and tortured him so much that his face and body were so disfigured that he was only recognized by a ring given to him by his father. After mutilating his body, they shot him in the head, then utilized barb wire to tie his dismembered body to a large metal fan, and threw him into the Tallahatchie River. Till’s uncle reported the kidnapping to the police, and Bryant and his brother were arrested and taken to court. However, they were later acquitted, and Till’s mother requested his body be transferred to Chicago, where she then held an open casket funeral so that she could show the world what hate did to her only son. After this, The Civil Rights Movement was then sparked. After being acquitted, Bryant and his brother confessed to killing Till in an interview, and Carolyn publicly stated that he did not harass her. This young boy brutally lost his life due to lies spewed out of hatred and racism, and many more accounts of brutality due to racism came after this tragic murder and continue to. Till’s story, along with many others, continues to serve as sufficient evidence that we as people need to do without hate and discrimination and promote acceptance and equality. Otherwise, when does the cycle stop?