A reminder of picturesque Mississippi

Photograph: Emmett Till Interpretive Center

A sign riddled with bullet holes marks the spot where, in 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till’s mutilated body was pulled from Mississippi’s Tallahatchie River. Two white men lynched Till for allegedly flirting with a white woman. Site markers such as this one were defaced and replaced repeatedly until 2019, when a 500-pound steel sign—bulletproof and indestructible— was installed.

Emmett Till was lynched a few months after I graduated from high school. I remember the news stories – in most of the North – as clearly as anything else about that summer. The so-called trial of the men who murdered that 14-year-old Black youth found them Not Guilty.

3 thoughts on “A reminder of picturesque Mississippi

  1. Footnote says:

    “Emmett Till’s Open Casket Funeral Reignited the Civil Rights Movement : Mamie Till Mobley’s decision for her slain son’s ceremony was a major moment in Civil Rights history.” https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/emmett-tills-open-casket-funeral-reignited-the-civil-rights-movement-180956483/
    A Jet photographer, David Jackson, photographed Till’s body, which thousands of mourners observed at his funeral. No mainstream news outlets published the images of Till’s body, according to an account decades later in The New York Times.
    But their appearance in Jet and several other African-American publications helped make the Till murder “the first great media event of the civil rights movement,” historian David Halberstam wrote in his book “The Fifties.”
    The photograph by David Jackson: http://dujye7n3e5wjl.cloudfront.net/photographs/1080-tall/time-100-influential-photos-david-jackson-emmett-till-46.jpg (click to enlarge)

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