We’ve got a really big assignment coming up in our honors comp class. Part one is to identify songs from the Civil Rights movement to create a playlist. We’re going to need to research the history of the songs, and explain why we feel they are significant. Part two is to identify one Civil Rights event that moves, shocks, or inspires us. We need to find out everything we can about this event, and then compose a playlist of eight songs that reflect what we think about the event.
I’m excited about getting started with this assignment. I’m going to do part two first. My event in history is the murder of Emmett Till. He’s not as famous as Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr., but I feel he played a very important role in the Civil Rights movement. The only definite song choice I’ve made so far is When The Children Cry by White Lion.
Emmett was from Chicago, but traveled to the small town of Money, Mississippi to stay with his uncle and other family members. Emmett was brutally beaten, shot and thrown into the Tallahatchie River on August 27, 1955. What did he do wrong? He harmlessly flirted with an older white woman. He supposedly winked at her. Roy Bryant, whose wife was the white woman at the store who Emmett supposedly “harassed”, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, were the murderers. They were acquitted by a jury of 12 white men. Emmett was only fourteen years old. At his funeral, his mother Mamie Till kept the casket open, so that the world can see what the men did to her little boy.
Unfortunately, Emmett’s story isn’t well known. Even though he was young when he was killed, his death served a purpose. I’m sure he’d be proud of how far equality has come in America.