Emmett Till would have been 79 years old today. His story rocked the nation, sparking rage and solemn. 14-year-old Emmett Till, was visiting family in Money, Mississippi, when he was brutally murdered for allegedly flirting with a white woman four days earlier.
On August 24, while standing with his cousins and some friends outside a country store in Money, Emmett allegedly bragged that his girlfriend back home was white. Emmett’s African-American companions, disbelieving him, dared Emmett to ask the white woman sitting behind the store counter for a date.
He went inside, bought some candy, and on the way out was heard saying, “Bye, baby” to the woman. There were no witnesses in the store, but Carolyn Bryant—the woman behind the counter—later claimed that he grabbed her, made lewd advances and whistled at her as he sauntered out.
His assailants—the white woman’s husband and her brother—made Emmett carry a 75-pound cotton-gin fan to the bank of the Tallahatchie River and ordered him to take off his clothes. The two men then beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head and then threw his body, tied to the cotton-gin fan with barbed wire, into the river.
Following his passing, his mother demanded an open casket funeral so the world could see what they did to her baby. The pain still resonates today. The woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, has recently admitted that she lied about the incident.
Happy Birthday Emmett Till. May the face of evil one day be in the past.