Emmett Louis Till



(Original Caption) Friends restrain grief-stricken Mrs. Mamie Bradley (left) as her son’s body is lowered into the grave after a four-day, open-casket funeral. The 15-year old Negro youngster, Emmett Till, was shot and clubbed to death last week in Greenwood, Mississippi. He is believed to have been murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Two men have confessed to kidnapping the youth by denying killing him.

“We cannot afford the luxury of self-pity. Our top priority now is to get on with the building process. My personal peace has come through helping boys and girls reach beyond the ordinary and strive for the extraordinary. We must teach our children to weather the hurricanes of life, pick up the pieces, and rebuild. We must impress upon our children that even when troubles rise to seven-point- one on life’s Richter scale, they must be anchored so deeply that, though they sway, they will not topple”
– Mamie Till Mobley

(Mother of Emmett Louis Till)

This quote is taken from her speech given at the dedication of the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama on November 5, 1989.

Mamie Till Mobley

Ring found on the body of Emmett Till. (Photo by Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)


The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan


Twas down in Mississippi
Not so long ago
When a young boy from Chicago Town
Walk in a southern door
This boy’s fateful tragedy
We should all remember well
The color of his skin was black
And his name was Emmett TillSome men they dragged him to a barn
And there they beat him up
They said they had a reason
But I disremember what
They tortured him and did some things
Too evil to repeat
There was screamin’ sounds inside the barn
There was laughin’ sound out on the streetThey dragged his body to a gulch
Amidst a bloodred rain
And they threw him in the waters wide
To cease his screaming pain
The reason that they killed him there
And I’m sure it ain’t no lie
He was a blackskin boy
So he was born to dieAnd so to stop these United States
Of yelling for a trial
Two brothers they confessed that they
Killed poor Emmett Till
But on the jury there were men
Who helped the brother commit this awful crime
And so this trial was a mockery
But nobody seemed to mindI saw the morning paper
But I could not bear
To see the brothers smiling
On that courthouse stairs
For the jury found them innocent
And the brothers they went free
Whilt Emmett’s body floats the foam
Of a Jim Crow southern seaIf you can’t speak out against this kind of thing
A crime that’s so unjust
Your eyes are filled with deadman’s dirt
Your mind is filled with dust
Your arms and legs, they must be in shackles and chains
And your blood it must cease to flow
For you’d let this human race
Sink so God-awful low

This song is just a reminder
To tell my fellow man
That this kind of thing still lives today
In that ghost-robed Klu Klux Klan
But if we all then think alike
If we give all we can give
We’d make this Great land of ours
An even greater place to live.