I went to bed last night trying to get the true story of Emmett Till out of my mind. I awoke this morning with that boy still on my mind.
I wonder what he would have grown up to be? A young teenage black boy in 1955, apparently outgoing, smart, with a good sense of humor. Murdered in the most atrocious way by two grown white men, possibly with others, possibly with even one or two black hired “assistants”, for Emmett having had the “audacity” to allegedly “come on” to a young white woman – a Mississippi “lily” and wife of one of the murderers – Emmett, his short life and his horrible death, became the major inflection point in the civil rights movement ensuing from that point to this moment. While we will never know for sure all of the details and participants in his murder, it is unimportant at this point. What is important is that we NEVER forget what happened to him.
Of course I have known a little of the story for many decades, but only just recently have I sought out more information. What prompted me was viewing an interview on one of the major news tv channels of Timothy B. Tyson, about his latest book “The Blood of Emmett Till.” I haven’t even finished reading it, a thoroughly researched and investigated history book, scholarly written to capture the full context of Emmett’s murder in the days of Jim Crow, and what the event, “witnessed” around the world, meant to the civil rights movement. Mr. Tyson actually sat down and interviewed the Mississippi “lily.”
Then I found this documentary story on You Tube, which is rather long, but thorough, with interviews of his mother many others who were caught up in this sad story. It is not easy to watch, but we should.
Today, with all the hate we are witnessing, with old “norms” suddenly coming out in the open again, encouraged by BMT (Bottomless Moral Turpitude….that which occupies the Oval Office), and a significant portion of his base of supporters, we who stand to defeat such hate must not forget the past. That past is really not distant at all. Many of the sons and daughters and their children of those who belonged to Citizens Councils, KKK, and many other collections of white people who committed acts of terrorism against blacks and their few white supporters during the 1950’s and later, are still very much alive today. I would like to believe that most have turned away from such racism, but the fact is that many have not. The ghosts of the murderers of Emmett Till, and those who murdered so many other black people during those days, walk the Earth.
Be vigilant O Warriors of Truth and Love.