Emmett Till Biography, Wiki, Age, Family, Killing of Emmett Till | Who was Emmett Till? Bio, Wiki

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Who was Emmett Till?

Emmett Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was a 14-year-old African American who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store.

The brutality of his murder and the fact that his killers were acquitted drew attention to the long history of violent persecution of African Americans in the United States. Till posthumously became an icon of the civil rights movement.

How Emmett Till’s Mother Turned Her Personal Tragedy into a National Movement

How Emmett Till's Mother Turned Her Personal Tragedy into a National Movement
How Emmett Till’s Mother Turned Her Personal Tragedy into a National Movement

Emmett Till, a black teen from Chicago, was visiting family members in Mississippi in the summer of 1955.

There, the 14-year-old boy was kidnapped before being beaten, mutilated, and lynched by two white men after a woman falsely accused him of lewd behavior.

The woman accused Till of whistling at her and attempting to grab her hand and waist. 

A large metal fan was tied to his neck with barbed wire and he was tossed in the Tallahatchie River.

Months after Till’s death, the killers, Roy Bryant and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, were acquitted by an all-white jury.

After her son’s death, Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, fought to have her only child’s body brought home to Chicago. At his funeral, she ordered that his casket remain open so all could see what happened to her son.

Her decision became a turning point for the civil rights movement and propelled her to become a crusader for justice for her son and for others.

Her story, from government worker to civil rights activist and educator, is explored in a new docuseries called Let the World See, which premieres on ABC Thursday, Jan. 6, at 10 p.m.

The series features actress and producer Nia Long as the voice of Till-Mobley and includes commentary and historical analysis from prominent figures like former first lady Michelle Obama. (An exclusive clip is shown below.)

Emmett Till Biography, Wiki

Emmett Louis Till was born on July 25, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois to Louis and Mamie Till. When Emmett was four, he and his mother got word that his father, a soldier stationed in Italy during World War II, had been executed by the government (it wasn’t revealed until many years later that his father was convicted by a court-martial of the rape and murder of three Italian women, sentenced to death and subsequently hanged).

Emmett was raised by his mother and grandmother and, in his early years, was said to have been a happy, normal young man who excelled at science and art in school and was known to love jokes.

At the age of five, Emmett was stricken with polio. He recovered but was left with a slight stutter. Despite his childhood illness, he grew up a happy boy. Emmett pitched in with the chores.

His mother recalled he once told her, “If you can go out and make the money, I can take care of the house.” This was welcome news for a woman raising a child alone. “It was just like I was carrying a load and I laid it down,” she said.

Emmett Till
Emmett Till
BornEmmett Louis Till
July 25, 1941
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedAugust 28, 1955 (aged 14)
Drew, Mississippi, U.S.
Cause of deathLynching (bullet wound and mutilation)
Resting placeBurr Oak Cemetery
Alsip, Illinois
EducationJames McCosh Elementary School
Parent(s)Mamie Carthan Till-Mobley
Louis Till

What happened to Emmett Till?

In 1955, his great-uncle Mose Wright came up from Mississippi for a funeral and, at that time, invited young Emmett back to Mississippi with him for a vacation. Unaware of the strict rules of segregation enforced in Mississippi, Emmett made the fatal mistake of paying improper attention to Carolyn Bryant, the wife of a white store owner.

Though accounts vary, history has agreed that while visiting the store, Emmett directed a wolf whistle at Mrs. Bryant. After several days, her husband Roy and his half-brother J.W. Milam tracked down young Till at his great-uncle’s house in the middle of the night and took him away to a plantation, where they tortured him, then murdered him and threw the body in the Tallahatchie River.

It was discovered days later and shipped back home to Chicago, where his mother decided to put her son’s grossly bloated and disfigured corpse on display at an open-casket funeral so that all Chicago could see the full horror of her son’s death.

The case made headlines worldwide, especially when Bryant and Milam were acquitted by an all-white jury back in Mississippi, and then began giving interviews bragging about how they had gotten away with murder and describing how they had tortured and murdered Emmett.

After failing to get President Dwight D. Eisenhower to reopen the case, Mrs. Till had the photos of her son’s corpse published in Jet magazine. The response to such a horrible act would remain in the minds of a generation of black people and be said to have been the spark that put the Civil Rights Movement into motion.

Emmett Till Legacy

  • The brutal murder of Emmett Till continued to haunt American citizens for long, as evident by the number of books, documentaries, and songs that either focused on the case or allude to the murder.
  • Author William Faulkner wrote two essays on Till, while James Baldwin’s 1964 drama ‘Blues for Mister Charlie’ was loosely based on Till’s case. It is also believed that the character of ‘Tom Robinson’ in Harper Lee’s novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is based on Emmett Till.
  • ‘James McCosh Elementary School’ in Chicago, where Till once studied, was renamed ‘Emmett Louis Till Math and Science Academy’ in 2005.

Emmett Till FAQ’s

Who was Emmett Till?

Emmett Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was a 14-year-old African American who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store.

How did Emmett Till die?

There, the 14-year-old boy was kidnapped before being beaten, mutilated, and lynched by two white men after a woman falsely accused him of lewd behavior.

How old was Emmett Till?

Emmett Till was just 14 years old.

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