Emmitt Till in the River.
August, 28 1955

At the age of fourteen, Emmitt Till from Chicago came to Mississippi to visit his uncle. He had experienced segregation back home, but was never prepared for the intensity of it in Mississippi. After talking to some friends and supposedly bragging about having a white girlfriend they dared him to talk to the white female shop-keep at the store on the corner. After buying some candy and wolf-whistling at the woman he went home and forgot all about the incident. Three days later, the womans husband and brother show up at Emmitts uncles house an demand to see him. They abducted him in the early morning, threatening his uncle with his life were he to tell anyone about it. Emmitt Till was found the next day in the river, signs of torture evident. The face was so mangled, and body so unrecognizable, that the only sure means of identifying the body was Emmitts dead fathers initialed ring. The two men were brought before an all male, all white jury and after little more than an hours deliberation were found not-guilty and set free.

After the trial, the body was sent home to Emmitts mother. On seeing the remains she could no longer sit and let racism take so much from her. She proposed an open casket funeral and invited the country to see what had happened to her son. This stirred the whole black community into an all new uproar. Emmitt's death was the last straw in the long history of prejudice and racism. After pictures of the corpse was released the evidence was reviewed and case reopened. The two men responsible, however, died free of any charges and the memory of Emmitt Till caused many to look again when they saw racism. The death of Emmitt opened a blockade and forced the common people to see what was in front of them.