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 Emmett Louis Till

Emmett Louis Till

Birth
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 28 Aug 1955 (aged 14)
Money, Leflore County, Mississippi, USA
Burial Alsip, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 12300 · View Source
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Murder Victim, Civil Rights Figure. Many historians feel he inadvertently started the American civil rights movement. His story is chronicled in the PBS award-winning documentary series,"Eyes on the Prize." While visiting relatives in Mississippi, this young black Chicagoan, not understanding the profundity of racism there, accepted a dare to address an attractive white woman in a grocery store. He went in, bought some candy, and on the way out allegedly said "bye, baby." One observer claimed he had only whistled at her. A couple of days later, the woman's husband and his brother-in-law took him from the home he was visiting and drove him to the Tallahatchie River where they made him strip, beat him, gouged out one of his eyes and shot him in the head. They threw his body, with a 75 lb. fan attached, into the river. When his body was recovered, he was so badly disfigured that he could only be identified by an initialed ring. Authorities wanted to bury him quickly, but his mother requested that he be sent back to Chicago. When she saw him, she tearfully decided to have an open casket funeral so that the public could see what murderers had done to her only son. When a picture of his corpse was published in "Jet" magazine, black Americans collectively were indignant about the brutality. Emmett's killers were acquitted by a Mississippi jury, and both black America as well as major newspapers throughout the country condemned these outcomes, which became a catalyst for the youth of the 1950s to pursue the civil rights efforts of the 1960s.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 6 Sep 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12300
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Emmett Louis Till (25 Jul 1941–28 Aug 1955), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12300, citing Burr Oak Cemetery, Alsip, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .