It’s been 60 years since Emmett Till was taken from his home in the middle of the night. Repeatedly beaten, ultimately shot; his body weighed down with a 70 pound fan and thrown in the river. It would surface three days later – maimed, bloated, disfigured, and unrecognizable. His crime – whistling at a White woman. His murderers were found not guilty despite a plethora of evidence against them. Then, to rub salt in the wounds of this civil injustice, an exclusive interview was given to Look Magazine where the murderers gave a full confession knowing that they could not be tried again.
After the interview was published, William Faulkner wrote this:
If the facts as stated in the Look magazine account of the Till affair are correct, this remains: two adults, armed, in the dark, kidnap a fourteen-year-old boy and take him away to frighten him. Instead of which, the fourteen-year-old boy not only refuses to be frightened, but, unarmed, alone, in the dark, so frightens the two armed adults that they must destroy him…. What are we Mississippians afraid of?
Poignant. And on point. For then as well as now.
I wasn’t there when Emmett Till was killed. Heck, I wasn’t even alive! So I certainly can’t tell the story better than those who were. Therefore, I will leave you with the following. The link is a 60 Minutes piece where Ed Bradley interviews two of Emmett Till’s cousins who were with him during these fateful times. The YouTube video is an hour-long production that highlights Emmett Till’s short life. Please read, watch, and reflect.