Emmett Louis Till

Emmett Louis Till

by Dale Ricardo Shields


               A Muddy Path and Bloody River of Research…  

                           A Forever Murderous  Undertow of Lies, Racism, and Murder…

Page 1 – 20

Emmett Louis Till

Born – July 25, 1941, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A — Died – August 28, 1955, Money, Mississippi )

African American teenager whose murder catalyzed the emerging civil rights movement.



Emmett Till walked into a Mississippi store,

… that changed civil rights, forever.


or  What happened and why is it still happening? 

[No Copyright Infringement Intended – DRS]

Bonnie Mettler (Artist)
Emmett Till

The Incident…

“In August 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was visiting family in Money when he and his cousin Curtis Jones went to Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market with some local boys to buy candy. Accounts of what happened next are still disputed, but some versions claim that Till whistled at 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, who owned the store with her husband, Roy Bryant, 24. Carolyn Bryant later testified that Till grabbed her hand and asked for a date. In 2008, however, historian Timothy Tyson said that Carolyn admitted to him that her testimony regarding Till’s verbal and physical advances was false. Till’s cousin Simeon Wright, as well as a second anonymous source, claimed that while Till spoke to Carolyn, he did not make any inappropriate comments, and he paid for his items and promptly left the store.

The store in Money, Miss., where Emmett Till allegedly flirted with Roy Bryant’s wife Carolyn.
Ed Clark; Life Pictures/Shutterstock

When Till and the other boys exited the store, Carolyn retrieved a pistol from her car. Though the teenagers left the premises upon seeing this, word of the incident spread quickly, and Roy Bryant soon caught wind of what happened. Immediately seeking revenge, he questioned several young Black men who came to his store. After Bryant learned where Till was staying, he was overheard talking to John William “J.W.” Milam, his half-brother, about abducting Till.

The site of Emmett Till’s kidnapping, Money, Miss., 1955.
Ed Clark; Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Abduction and Murder
Roy, Carolyn, and Milam took Till from his great-uncle’s home in the early morning hours of August 28, 1955, and tied him up in the back of a pickup truck. After dropping off Carolyn and picking up two Black men who worked for Roy, the men took Till to a barn in Drew, Mississippi, where they badly beat him.

Till was also shot before the men threw his body into the Tallahatchie River, weighed down with a large fan blade they’d stolen from a cotton gin.

TALLAHATCHIE COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI – JULY 4: The spot where the body of murdered teenager Emmett Till was discovered is seen at the Tallahatchie River on July 4, 2020, in rural Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

Three days later, two boys fishing in the river discovered Till’s nude and badly disfigured body. Till had been shot above his right ear, and his face had been beaten beyond recognition. The fan blade was secured around Till’s neck with barbed wire.

Till’s murder attracted national attention. The NAACP called the murder a lynching, and Mississippi Gov. Hugh L. White promised the organization’s national office a full investigation. Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till Bradley, had his body sent back to Chicago and demanded an open-casket funeral so that attendees could see her son’s mutilated body and understand the extent of the harm done to him. Photographs of Till’s body were published in newspapers around the country, including two Black publications, Jet and The Chicago Defender, and spurred public outrage at the treatment of Blacks in the American South.

The Trial
Roy Bryant and Milam were indicted for murder, and five attorneys from Sumner offered to defend the pair pro bono. The trial took place in September 1955 in Sumner at the Tallahatchie County Courthouse. Lasting only five days, the trial attracted spectators who filled the courtroom. Though the defense attempted to discredit Till’s great-uncle Mose Wright by saying that he could not identify Bryant and Milam, Wright courageously testified that the two men had identified themselves to him and that he had seen Milam clearly. Wright’s testimony marked the first time a Black man had testified to the guilt of a White man in the state of Mississippi.

Interior view of the segregated seating in the packed Tallahatchie County Courthouse during the trial of J W Milam and Roy Bryant who were accused of the murder of Emmett Till, Sumner, Mississippi, September 1955. (Photo by Bettmann via Getty Images)

On September 23, the all-White, all-male jury deliberated 67 minutes before acquitting Bryant and Milam. Jurors later admitted in interviews that although they knew Bryant and Milam were guilty of Till’s murder, they did not think imprisonment or the death penalty were appropriate punishments for white men who had killed a black man.

The Lasting Influence
Emmett Till’s murder became a symbol for the horrific treatment of Blacks in the American South. Rosa Parks attended a rally for Till in Montgomery, and she cited his murder as one of the reasons she famously refused to move to the back of the city bus. Parks said, “I thought of Emmett Till and I just couldn’t go back.” Mamie Till Bradley toured the country telling the story of her son’s life and death as part of a successful NAACP fundraising campaign. Three documentary films about Till’s murder have been produced, and memorials in Till’s honor have been created all over the country, including in Denver, Chicago and Montgomery. In 2007, Rep. John Lewis, a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, sponsored a bill called the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act to investigate and prosecute cold cases from the civil rights era.”

“Black Men in America Are Still Killed for Crimes They Didn’t Commit.”


SAY THEIR NAMES #justiceforgeorgefloyd by @kadirnelson

The murder of Emmett Till in 1955 sparked a movement that led to America’s Second Reconstruction. The killing of George Floyd nearly one year ago has pushed America toward a third.

Floyd’s “cries of ‘I can’t breathe’ united this generation in a collective gasp for justice

Oprah Tells Dr. Oz the Derek Chauvin Trial Caused Her to Think of Emmett Till
The show host says the similarities of the trials made her fear that justice would not be served.

Written by Jamila Bey 

Oprah Winfrey said the night before the Derek Chauvin trial, she had a dream of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Chicago boy, tortured and lynched in 1955 in Money, Mississippi, for allegedly whistling at a White woman. That woman, Carolyn Bryant, has since recanted her story that caused her husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother J.W. Milam to kidnap and kill Till.


BREAKING: Derek Chauvin Verdict: Guilty On All Counts In Death of George Floyd

An all-White jury acquitted Roy and J.W. five days after the start of the trial. Carolyn Bryant was never held accountable.

Winfrey sat for an interview with Dr. Memet Oz for an upcoming episode of his show and recounted her dream. Page Six reports that she said, “we were all on a bus together, and the bus blew up.” She continued, “And so I wake in that morning like, what does that mean? And does that mean this whole trial is going to blow up…?”

Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. The shockingly rare instance of a white police officer being held accountable for killing a Black man. Floyd’s death sparked worldwide protests against police brutality. Despite the video that showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, there was concern that there would be no conviction.

Page Six reports that Winfrey told Oz watching the verdict caused her to become emotional. “I started to tear up, and I asked myself, ‘Where is this emotion coming from?’ And I was having … flashbacks of Till and all the names that we’ve heard protesters speak for.”

It seems that Winfrey rested well after the verdict came down. She said in the interview, “So I went to bed thinking about Emmett Till and the fact that he never received justice. And this moment was a sacrifice for all of the people who didn’t receive justice.”

Chauvin remains imprisoned until his sentencing in June.”



Emmett Louis Till was born in Chicago on July 25, 1941. Emmett was the only child of Louis and Mamie Till.  He never knew his father, a soldier, who died. 

Photo Courtesy of Black Kudos

Part I: The Unfortunate Trip

On the morning of August 31, 1955, Robert Hodges, who was fishing at Tallahatchie Lake in Mississippi, found an unknown object floating on the surface ( 23 miles north of Greenwood). Closer and closer, he was terrified that it was a dead body. That was Emmett Till, a 14 years old African-American boy. He was shot above the right ear, a 150-pound cotton gin fan had been tied around his neck with barb wire. The death of Emmett Till had an impact on the Civil Rights Movement battles against racism in the United States of America during the 1950s.


The murder of Emmett Till was a seminal event in the Civil Rights movement. Myrlie Evers, whose husband, civil rights leader Medgar Evers, who would be assassinated 8 years later in Jackson Mississippi, noted: “The Emmett Till case shook the foundations of Mississippi because it said that even a child was not safe from racism, bigotry, and death.”

“Between 1877 and 1950, more than 4,000 African-Americans were lynched in Southern states – that is, whipped, castrated, tortured, burned alive or strung from the trees by White mobs.”

Back to the morning of August 31st, after finding the body, Hodges ran back to tell his father. When the police showed up at the found body scene, they confirmed that the victim was beaten brutally. One of Emmett Till’s eyes fell off, and the right side of his head was unrecognizably injured. His tongue was edematous and a few teeth were gone. The body was in a decomposing state. Around the victim’s neck, there was a heavy fan wrapped around by wire. In the left ear, there was a bullet hole. The consequence of being soaked in water for almost 72 hours made the body deformed. The only object the police could use to find the victim’s identity was the ring on his left hand “L.T”.

A ring found on Emmett Till’s body that was given to him by his father, Louis Till


His uncle, Moses Wright (tenant farmer), reported the disappearance of his 14-year-old nephew from Chicago three days ago. Moses explained the words L.T on the ring were an abbreviation of Emmett Till’s father who passed away.


@ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – Iforcolor.org/Dale Shields