The Underground Experience Presents “The Emmett Till Murder Discussion!”
Please join me and my guests Linda Sconiers, Candace Benefil, Easop & Reverend Wheeler Parker as we discuss the Past, Present & Future…….Are we any better TODAY than back THEN and how can we have a better TOMORROW????
Emmett Louis Till was born on July 25, 1941, in Argo, Illinois, a town outside of Chicago.
Trip to Mississippi
Till’s mother’s family was originally from Mississippi–they moved to Argo when she was two–and she still had family there, specifically an uncle, Mose Wright. When Till was fourteen, he went on a trip during his summer vacation to see his relatives there. Emmett’s mother warned him that the South was a different, to “be careful” and “to humble himself” to the whites in Mississippi if necessary. Accompanied by his 16-year-old cousin, Wheeler Parker, Jr., Till arrived in Money, Mississippi, on August 21, 1955.
On Wednesday, August 24, Till along with seven or eight cousins, went by Bryant Grocery and Meat Market, a white-owned grocery that mainly sold goods to the African-American sharecroppers in the area. Carolyn Bryant, a 21-year-old white woman, was manning the cash register, Emmett and his cousins were in the parking lot, chatting, and Emmett, in a youthful boast, bragged to his cousins that he had a white girlfriend back in Chicago.
What happened next is unclear: his cousins do not agree whether someone dared Emmett to go into the store and get a date with Carolyn. To what extent he attempted to flirt with Carolyn is also unclear: Carolyn changed her story on several occasions. His mother suggests that he may have whistled in an attempt to overcome his stutter.
Whatever the context, Carolyn chose to keep the encounter from her husband, Roy Bryant. He learned of the incident from local gossip–a young African-American teenager apparently being so bold with a white woman was unheard of.
At around 2:00 a.m. on August 28, Roy, along with his half-brother John W. Milam, went to Wright’s house and pulled Till out of bed. They kidnapped him.
Three days later, a boy fishing in the Tallahatchie River, found Emmett’s body tied to a fan from a cotton gin and tortured before being shot.
The Aftermath of Till’s Death
Roy Bryant’s and J.W. Milam’s trial started on September 19 in Sumner, Mississippi. They acquitted Bryant and Milam.
Protest rallies took place in major cities across the country after the verdict– Bryant Grocery and Meat Market eventually went out of business–90 percent of its customers were African-American, and they began boycotting the place.
On January 24, 1956, Look magazine published the detailed confessions of Bryant and Milam, who reportedly received $4000 for their stories. They admitted to killing Till, knowing that they could not be retried for his murder because of double jeopardy. Bryant and Milam said they did it to make an example out of Till, to warn others “of his kind” to not come down to the South.
Rosa Parks said of her refusal to move to the back of a bus (in the segregated South, the front of the bus was reserved for whites): “I thought of Emmett Till, and I just couldn’t go back.” The image of Till’s battered body served as a rallying point for African Americans who joined the Civil Rights Movement to ensure that there would be no more Emmett Tills.
Musical Artists Include: Sandra Reaves-Phillips, Easop, Sounds Of Blackness, Fela Kuti, August Rising !
Show# 91 Broadcast
4pm – 5pmÂ Wed., 10/19/11(KCLA-FM)
9am – 10am & 9pm – 10pm Thurs., 10/20/11 (KLEDLive FM)
Direct Link at: www.UltimateUnderground.com
Podcast will be posted after 6pm at:
www.UltimateUnderground.com and http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id466386433
Wheeler Parker at 16
Rev. Wheeler Parker Now
Sounds of Blackness