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The Killing of Emmett Till

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Emmett Till was a 14 year old boy who got killed for whistling at a white woman. On August 28, 1955 Emmett was taken from his great- uncle’s house by two white men, Roy Bryant and JW Milam. Emmett Till lived in Chicago, but traveled south to visit relatives in Mississippi. Emmett Till was on a train with his great-uncle Moses Wright. Emmett’s murder sparked the upsurge of resistance and activism which became known as the Civil Rights Movement. Emmett Till was brutally beaten and killed by J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant who later disposed of his body by in a nearby river.

Emmett Louis Till was born on July 25, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois, he was an only child of Mamie and Louis Till. Emmett Till lived with his mother, and never knew his father who was a private in the United States Army during World War II. Emmett’s mother worked long hours for the Air Force as a clerk in charge of secret and confidential files, and still found time to take care of Emmett as a single mother. It was normal for Emmett’s mother to work more than 12 hours a day, so he took on his full share of domestic responsibilities from a very young age. “Emmett had all the house responsibility. I mean everything was really on his shoulders, and Emmett took it upon himself. He told me if I would work, and make the money, he would take care of everything else. He cleaned, and he cooked quite a bit. And he even took over the laundry”, said his mother Mamie Till.

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Emmett had arrived in Money, Mississippi on August 21, 1995 with his great-uncle Moses Wright. Three days later on August 24, 1995, Emmett went into Bryant’s Grocery with a group of his friends to buy some refreshments after working in the sun all day. No one will ever know the exact story of what went down in the store that day, but everyone knows that it upset several people. Four days after Emmett and his friends went into the store at approximately at 2:30 in the morning Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam kidnapped Till. They brutally beat Till, dragged him to the bank of the Tallahatchie River, shot him in the head, tied him up with barbed wire to a metal fan, and shoved his body into the water to stay there forever.

Emmett had a pretty good family life. Learned how to take care of himself, and supported his mother while she was working long hours at the office by helping out around the house while she was away. Emmett Till was also very loved amunsted his family. He always listened, and was polite to everyone. He would do almost anything people asked him to do instantly. No one could quite understand why someone would abuse, and kill him like the two men did.

Emmett Till’s death had a very powerful effect on Mississippi Civil Right activist, and the whole countries view on the Civil Rights Movement. For many years people thought that African Americans bodies were not supposed to reemerge, and they certainly weren’t supposed to stir international news. His funeral was in Chicago, and over 100,000 people came to pay their respects to Emmett and his entire family. Emmett Till’s death carried into the 60s. The 60s was known as “the Emmett Till Generation,” though most white people did not see the pictures. 63 years later there are still articles, and people talking about the death of Emmett Till.

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The Killing of Emmett Till. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“The Killing of Emmett Till.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
The Killing of Emmett Till. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
The Killing of Emmett Till [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
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