While promoting her new movie, ‘The Butler,’ Oprah Winfrey compared the death of Trayvon Martin to the 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, which helped ignite the civil rights movement.

‘Trayvon Martin, parallel to Emmett Till,’ Oprah toldĀ The Grio‘s Chris Witherspoon in a short clip of the interview that aired on MSNBC Monday. ‘Let me just tell you, in my mind, same thing.

‘But you can get stuck in that and not allow yourself to move forward and to see how far we’ve come.’

Till, from Chicago, was visiting relatives in Mississippi in August of 1955 when he spoke to a 21-year-old white woman, whom he was later accused of flirting with.

The woman’s husband and his half-brother went to the house where Till was staying and beat him, gouged out one of his eyes and shot him in the head.

The men then disposed of his body by throwing it in the Tallahatchie River weighted down by a cotton gin.

Three days after he was killed, Till’s body was recovered and his mother had an open casket funeral to display to the world the brutality that he endured.

The graphic images of Till’s mutilated body–and later, the acquittal of his murderers, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam–provided a catalyst for the civil rights movement. Months after the aquittal, Bryant and Milam confessed to the killing.


Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.