Makayla Richards Mrs. Bonham Literature 101 5 March 2013 Emmett Till Research Paper Three Major Points: Lynching, Mississippi Trial, 1955 Thesis Statement: The murder of Emmitt Till was a murder that changed America The Emmett Till Case, 1955 Chilling Circumstances The story surrounding the death of Emmett Till provides chilling insight into the racism that dominated the South in the 1950s. Emmett was a fourteen-year-old Chicago native visiting his relatives in Mississippi.
While out with his cousins and friends on the night of August 24, 1955 he allegedly whistled at a white woman in the grocery store owned by her husband. Stories vary as to what Till actually said or did. According to the woman Till grabbed her and made rude remarks. Some witnesses claimed that he only whistled at her. Still others assured that he made no problems at all, that he whistled continuously to control a speech defect. A Brutal Murder Roy Bryant considered his wife’s life ruined by the incident. Several nights after the episode, Bryant, his half brother J. W.
Milam, and possibly others kidnapped Emmett from his relatives’ house in the middle of the night. The two men beat him severely and, apparently saw that he had a picture of a white woman in his wallet, they shot Emmett and threw him in a nearby river. Several days later the body was found, and Bryant and Milam were charged with murder. A Surprise Verdict Mississippi politicians and newspapers condemned the murderers and promised justice. However, Mississippians became more defensive as the weeks passed. The Press attacked them with harsh judgment of racial violence in the South.
The highly publicized trial of the two men was charged with racial tension. African-American politicians and reporters from the North were treated horribly and were segregated in the courtroom. The prosecution was poorly prepared, and the substance of the defense was the shocking claim that Till was not actually dead. The Killers Tell the Truth The truth of what happened that night became public knowledge several months after the trial. William Bradford Huie, an Alabama journalist in Mississippi to report on the aftermath of the case, offered Bryant and Milam money to tell their story.
Since the two could no longer be prosecuted for a crime of which they had already been accused of, they gladly told for a fee of how they had beaten and killed young Emmett Till. Huie reported what the killers told him in the January 24, 1956 issue of Look magazine. Now publicly exposed as murderers, Bryant and Milam were shunned by the community, and both moved elsewhere within a year. Emmett Till in death became a saint for the civil rights movement, a symbol of the racial hatred African-Americans who had yet to overcome the situation.
Citations: MLA Citation “Emmett Till”. Anti Essays. 23 Mar. 2013 APA Citation Emmett Till. Anti Essays. Retrieved March 23, 2013, from the World Wide Web: Source Citation: “The Emmitt Till Case, 1955. ” Discovering U. S. History. Gale Research, 1997. Reproduced in Discovering Collection. Farmington Hills, Mich. : Gale Group. October, 2001. Stephen J. Whitfield, A Death in the Delta: The Story of Emmett Till (New York: Free Press, 1988). Source Database: Discovering U. S. History