Emmett Till murder
In August of 1955 Mamie Till, a black working-class single mother from Chicago, sent her fourteen year old son, Emmett, to visit relatives in Leflore County, Mississippi. On August 24 Till, along with several friends, traveled to nearby Money, a small, deeply-segregated town in the heart of the Mississippi Delta where the youth reportedly whistled and made advances toward a white woman when he entered Bryant?s Grocery and Meat Market. Several days following the alleged incident on August 28, Emmett Till was kidnapped from the home of his uncle. Three days later Till's body was found floating in the Tallahatchie River; the fourteen year old boy had been severely beaten before being fatally wounded by a gunshot to the head. Photographs of Till's disfigured body appeared in African American newspapers and magazines across the country, galvanizing support for racial reform in the South. On September 23, less than one month after Till's body was recovered, an all-white jury acquitted Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam, the husband and half-brother of Till's accuser, for Till's murder, prompting African Americans in northern cities such as Chicago, Baltimore and New York to stage rallies and demonstrations for racial justice.
Archival Collections and Reference Resources
- FBI Freedom of Information Act Collection (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
- Voices of Civil Rights (Library of Congress)