By Quentin Choy
The Civil Rights Movement in the United States began to stir following the murder of a Emmett Till in 1955.
Two men, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam murdered the 14-year-old boy after he allegedly whistled at Roy’s wife, Carolyn.
The heinous, cold, premeditated murder of a young boy revealed deep wounds in terms of race in America.
The murder happened just a year after Brown v. Board (1954) began racial integration in schools.
Bryant and Milam kidnapped Emmett Till and beat, tortured, and shot him before dumping his corpse into a river in Mississippi.
At Till’s funeral, his mother refused to have a closed casket or have her son’s body altered by a mortician.
Rather, she wanted the ugliness of what Bryant and Milam did to her young son to be on full display for the nation to see.
While Till’s death served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement, his death wasn’t that long ago in the context of history.
Till was born just two years before Joe Biden.
Were Emmett Till still alive today, he would be 80 years old. Just five years before Donald Trump.
He was murdered just six years before Barack Obama was born.
Perhaps one of the ugliest, most brutal acts of racism in American history happened just 66 years ago.
While such brutal acts like the murder of Emmett Till are less common in the United States, levels of racism still exists.
African-Americans have come a long way since Emmett Till’s murder, but they still face problems throughout society in the 21st Century.
To what extent that racism still affects society is still up for debate, but it’s fascinating to know that the murder of the a young boy that sparked a movement isn’t as distant in time as it seems.
- Emmett Till’s Funeral, PBS
- An American tragedy — the lynching of Emmett Till, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- The Murder of Emmett Till, Library of Congress