Glendora, Miss.—Photographs that captured a mother’s grief and Emmett Till’s mutilated body were on display as this tiny Mississippi Delta town opened a museum honoring the slain black teenager whose death was pivotal in the civil rights movement.
Among the items on display are family snapshots and a picture of Till’s mutilated body that stunned the nation after the 14-year-old Chicago boy was brutally murdered in 1955, allegedly in retaliation for whistling at a white woman.
“I want the country to see this moment as an historic event of how far we have come in the civil rights movement and to open people’s eyes to the many other injustices that have happened in other places besides the Delta,” said Till’s cousin, Priscilla Sterling.
The town converted a cotton gin into the Emmett Till Historic Intrepid Center, which includes oral histories, an audio-visual archive and a cotton gin fan like the one used to weigh down Till’s body after it was dumped in the Tallahatchie River.
Two white men were acquitted in Till’s case by an all-white jury. The two men later confessed in an interview with Look magazine.
The FBI reopended the case in 2004 but decided in March not to press charges. The case was turned over to District Attorney Joyce Chiles for possible state charges. She did not return a call seeking comment.
The boy’s case has never been forgotten in more then half a century.
In the last few years our entire nation has become aware of the distorted news reporting of most segments of our national news media.
One example was the Emmitt Till case wherein a black teenager was allegedly killed by two white men who resented the young man’s insult to one of their wives. This case was selected because it involved a black victim and white assailants and the news was dramatized, illustrated and spread around the world. At the same time crimes by blacks against whites were practically ignored and downplayed.
Since Mississippi has the largest percentage of blacks of any other State—and therefore had more problems from the “Black Monday” decision—it was the ideal target for these attacks.
Life magazine of Oct. 10, 1955 stated that Emmitt Till’s father, Louis Till, was a soldier hero who had died for his country. Later it was revealed that his father was a criminal soldier who had been hung in Europe by the U.S. Army for the crime of rape and double murder. Before the war, Till nearly strangled his wife, who took out a court order to keep him away from her. A judge gave Till a choice between jail and the Army. He chose the Army. The press later received this information but failed to reveal it in the news. Fifty years later, September 25, 2005, the Chicago Tribune printed a news story of Louis Till’s burial with seventy-nine other black soldiers, all convicted and executed by the U.S. Army for crimes of rape and murder in Europe during World War II.
Just last month much publicity was given to the naming of Mississippi Highway 49 East as the Emmitt Till Highway by the black supervisors of Leflore County. Of course, no mention of his father, Louis Till, has appeared in the Southern newspapers, nor will it be.