And today would have been the 75th birthday of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who was murdered on August 28, 1955, while visiting his aunt, uncle and cousins in Money, Mississippi. Till was abducted, beaten and shot after he allegedly wolf-whistled at a white female store clerk named Carolyn Bryant. His corpse was found three days later in the Tallahatchie River with a bullet hole in his head, barbed wire wrapped around his neck and a cotton-gin fan weighing down his body. Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, held an open-casket funeral for her son in Chicago, and the published images of his brutalized body galvanized the civil rights movement. This is Mamie Till Mobley speaking after the death of her son.
Mamie Till Mobley: “I believe that the whole United States is mourning with me. And if the death of my son can mean something to the other unfortunate people all over the world, then for him to have died a hero would mean more to me than for him just to have died.”