The ability of a human to nurse so much hate for a people that would make him/her murder a 14-year-old in cold blood is one event that still baffles me.
In 1955, almost 100years after slavery was abolished, vile hate was still nursed in the hearts of white people against Black people. This hate was bitterly expressed by the lynching of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy after he was accused of flirting with a white woman.
Now how does a 14-year-old boy flirt with a grown woman? And if he somehow smiled at a woman or spoke to her, what crime did he commit in speaking to another human being?
His death was just like others before and after him. One other murder of a young black boy was the electrocution of George Stinney Jr, who was also a 14-year-old boy. He was murdered on the false charges of killing two white girls.
The young boy Till. was born in Chicago, III., and had gone to visit some members of his family in Money, Mississipi. On the 24th of August, 1955, white people in the neighborhood started to spread a rumor that he had flirted with the woman who worked as the cashier in one of the local stores in the town.
At that time, Jim Crow laws were still in effect and segregation was still a huge part of American day to day life. A black man/boy flirting with a white woman/girl was considered a crime at the time since white people saw Black people as second-class humans who deserved to be treated like Animals.
The rumors got to some very bitter white men and two of them connived, kidnapped the young boy, beat him up mercilessly and then shot him dead.
Tim, who was described to be a young boy full of life and jokes, and always happy, was raised by his single mother, Mamie Till, in the Chicago Southside neighborhood.
Before Till’s death, he lived with his mother and other members of the larger family. His great uncle came to Mississippi to pick Till’s cousin to Chicago and Till begged his mother to join them. The mother agreed, and Till followed them to Chicago.
Some days after they had arrived, Till and his cousin followed some of their friends to buy some snacks at Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market. They had picked some cotton earlier that day, so they had some money to treat themselves to some goodies.
Those around accused the Till of asking out the wife of the owner of the store, Carolyn Bryant. They said he asked her out on a date. But Till’s cousin, Simeon Wright, denied the accusations.
Mrs. Carolyn Bryant had pulled out a gun and sent the boys running for their lives. When Mr. Bryant returned, they narrated what had happened to him and he left angrily with his friend, searching the whole town for the little boy Till.
A Black man was said to have driven them to the house of Till’s uncles, where they kidnapped the boy and took him away. They beat him up and then shot him, after which they threw his body into the Tallahatchie River.
Now take a moment and let that sink in!!!
Three days later, while fishing, a group of young boys found his mutilated body. His uncle came down to identify him and after that, his body was sent to Chicago on his mother’s request. His brutal murder spread around the entire USA and made the front pages of many newspapers.
His death was felt by every black person in America and led to more proactive measures and protests by Black rights organizations such as the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).
The trial for the murder charges against the two white men was held in Sumner, Mississipi. After Till’s uncle testified to an all-white jury, the Jury acquitted the murderers of all the charges brought against them.
The case caused great outrage from the Black civil rights groups and led to many protests and complains, but it did nothing to bring Mr. Bryant and his accomplice to justice. They murderers would later confess to a magazine the following January for exclusive rights they sold for $4000.
They both use their money to purchase cotton farms but never had any Black people who worked with them. They lived their lives in fear and rejection, and both died of cancer. Bryant died in 1994, while Milam died in 1980.
Both men never apologized to the boy’s family for their crime, neither did they apologize to Black people. They went to their graves with pride for their crime – and that pride was reinforced by the belief in white supremacy.
The murder of Till was in 1955. And though it seems like it was many decades away, we are reminded of it by the events of today, that nothing has really changed about America and white supremacy and white hatred for black people. Today, all over America, Black boys, girls, men, and women are shot and killed by white police an civilians alike.
So how do Black people move on from this? How do they forget, like many people have asked them to? How do they forgive when crimes of 100 years ago are repeated in 2019?
Black people have died and cried enough, but it seems it is never enough. The wicked and bloodthirsty elements of white supremacy are never satisfied with killing Black people. The murder of Black people seems to give them a certain kind of joy and power and so they are unapologetic about it.
But all this will end one day. the Black race shall rise again. And when they do, it shall be for eternity.