Emmett Till was a 14-year old boy from Chicago who was lynched by Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam in Money, Mississippi on August 28, 1955.
Bryant and Milam accused Till of doing things that no Black person would do in the Jim Crow South. Nothing justifies what was done to the child.
His mother Mamie Till courageously insisted on an open casket at his funeral so people could see what Bryant and Milam had done. News photographs of his body in the casket shocked America with their brutality.
In September 1955, an all-white Mississippi jury found Bryant and Milam not guilty of kidnapping and murder. In 1956, the two admitted to the killing in an interview with “Look” magazine.
The whole thing is sickening. And sadly, things haven’t really changed that much. Black men and people of color are still being killed for nothing and the killers (often police) are getting away with it.
Say their names, but not just the names of the dead. Say the names of the killers so their families will never forget either.
- Emmett Till, age 14, killed by Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam in Money, Mississippi on August 28, 1955
- Trayvon Martin, age 17, killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, 2012
- Eric Garner killed by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in New York City, 2014 – “I can’t breathe”
- Michael Brown killed by police officer Darren Wilson, Ferguson, Missouri, 2014
- Tamir Rice, age 12, killed by police officer Timothy Loehmann in Cleveland, Ohio, 2014
- Walter Scott killed by police officer Michael Slager in North Charleston, South Carolina, 2015
- Alton Sterling killed by police officers Howie Lake II and Blane Salamoni in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 2016
- Philando Castile killed by police officer Jeronimo Yanez in St. Paul, Minnesota, 2016
- Stephon Clark killed by police officers Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet in Sacramento, California, 2018 – Shot 7 times for holding his mobile phone
- Breonna Taylor killed by police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove in Louisville, Kentucky, 2020 – Shot 8 times after being woken up while sleeping in her own home
- George Floyd killed by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2020 – “I can’t breathe”
- Jacob Blake, shot 7 times for leaning into his car by police officer Rusten Sheskey in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 2020
This is just some of the violence. There’s more that is swept behind the Blue Line or never photographed. What kind of people are we? It needs to stop, now.
If all of us folks that thinks alike, if we gave all we could give,Bob Dylan, “The Death of Emmett Till,” 1962
We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live.”
We can’t continue building this list because it makes us feel sick to our stomach how this is allowed to happen and then allowed to go unpunished. All we can say is we shall overcome…