Black History Month – Emmett Till

Emmett Till was a 14 year old boy lynched in 1955 after being falsely accused of flirting with 21 year old white Carolyn Bryant while in her family’s grocery store in Money, Mississippi.

A few days after having visited Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market with friends, Carol Bryant’s husband Roy Bryant returned from a hunting trip, at which point his wife informed him that Till had flirted with her. Roy Bryant immediately began attempting to track down Till. A few days later, The Bryants, and Roy’s half brother J.W. Milam climbed into a truck and drove to Till’s uncle’s home in the middle of the night. There, Bryant and Milam forced their way in, dragged Till out of his home, and threatened his family that should they tell anyone, they would be killed. They tied Till up, depositing him in the back of their pick up truck and driving him to a barn in Drew, Mississippi. Witnesses heard crying and the sounds of someone being beaten from the barn, but no one got involved. Till was shot, and driven to Glendora, Mississippi, where his body was thrown over the Black Bayou Bridge.

Three days later, Till’s swollen and bloated body was found by two boys fishing the Tallahatchie river. His face had been badly disfigured, along with evidence of impacts to his back and hips. A fan blade had been attached to his neck with barbed wire to weight down his body.

Roy Bryant and JW Milam were tried for the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till, but were acquitted by an all-white jury.

A year later, in 1956,  Bryant and Milam were paid $4000 for an interview with Look Magazine, where they admitted to murdering Till, proudly insisting they hadn’t done anything wrong. In 2008, Carolyn Bryant admitted that Till had never flirted with her.

Published by Aila Moireach

Aila is a 30 year old single mum and social justice educator and writer. You can find her on facebook, or on her blog