WARNING: This story contains graphic details.
The death of Emmett Till was a crime that marked a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement and many are keeping his memory alive.
Emmett Till was a 14 year old Black boy who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in what is now one of the most notorious hate crimes in American history. BNC’s @EricCoxTV reports on Start Your Day w/ Sharon Reed + Mike Hill. pic.twitter.com/86nbUeyfHk
— BNC (@BNCNews) April 16, 2021
In August 1955, Till was visiting family members in Mississippi when he whistled at a white store clerk, 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the Emmet Till Legacy Foundation reported.
Bryant later accused Till of touching her hand, grabbing her by the waist and making sexual advances towards her.
Four days later, Till was kidnapped by Bryant’s husband Roy and his accomplices. Bryant identified him and her husband drove to a barn, lynched and brutally beat Till before dragging his body to the bank of the Tallahatchie River, where he was shot in the head, tied with barbed wire and thrown into the body of water.
Till’s body was shipped to Chicago, where his mother held a funeral with an open casket. More than 100,000 people traveled to see the body over five days.
On September 7, 1955, a grand jury indicted Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam on kidnapping and murder charges. The jury of all white men acquitted them.
Months later, in January 1956, Bryant and Milam admitted to committing the murder.
More than 60 years after that, Till’s accuser Carolyn, who divorced and remarried, admitted to a scholar that she lied about Till making advances toward her.
Till’s story is one of many examples of racism that Black people in America have endured.
Naomi Davis, born the day before Till was murdered, is the CEO and founder of Blacks in Green.
She grew up realizing the weight his murder had on Black Americans and she purchased Till’s former home.
She plans to use the property as an opportunity to create a place to tell Till’s story and provide information about the great migration when many Blacks moved from the south.
The legacy of Emmett Till does not end there. His cousin Deborah Watts is the co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation and she’s keeping his memory alive.
She joined Start Your Day with Sharon Reed and Mike Hill to discuss the continued fight for what’s right.
Watch @BNCNews This morning April 16, at 6:35 am CST/ 7:35 am EST.
Our co-founder and Cousin of #EmmettTill, @DeborahWattz will join BNC’s Morning show “Start Your Day” with @SharonReedLive and @ItsMikeHill
— EmmettTillLegacyFdn (@EmmettTill) April 16, 2021
“We are at a point now where we want to demand justice,” she said as the family still waits for answers.
Reed asked how she feels about Till’s white accuser, Carolyn Bryant, moving forward with her life and Watts said she has “more determination than anger.”
Watts said her family understands compassion and empathy, but she said Bryant needs to be held accountable.
“We want justice for Emmett Till,” she said.