Emmett Till had always wanted to visit the south, so when his uncle Mose Wright offered to let him stay the summer in Mississippi, Emmett jumped at the opportunity. Emmett and his mother Mamie lived in Chicago, Illinois. Mamie warned her son about the racism in the Mississippi Delta before he left to visit his relatives. She told him, “Be careful. If you have to get down on your knees and bow when a white person goes past, do it willingly.” When Emmett got to the small town of Money, Mississippi, him and his cousins skipped Sunday church where Uncle Mose was preaching. They went to Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market to buy candy. The store was owned by a white couple, Roy and Carolyn Bryant. Carolyn was working alone in the store that day, and the local boys dared Emmett to speak to her. Emmett often bragged about integrated schools back home in Chicago, and claimed that he had white friends and even a white girlfriend. What happens next is where the questions are asked. Some people say that Emmett wolf-whistled at the twenty-one year old white women. Other reports say that Emmett grabbed her hand and asked her out on a date, or that he said “Bye, baby” as he was leaving the store. Carolyn Bryant later said that Emmett grabbed her around the waist and asked her on a date, and used “unprintable” words. Carolyn went to get a pistol from under the seat in her car, and the boys ran. This occurred on the 24th of August. Roy Bryant was in Texas and did not return home until August 27th.
This is how far I’ve made it on my actual research about Emmett. I’m nowhere near done, but this is a hard topic. No one actually knows what Emmett said to Carolyn Bryant that day. If I’m going to accurately tell his story, I need to find out every known detail. I don’t want to leave anything out.
This is one of my online sources: http://www.heroism.org/class/1950/heroes/till.htm.
I was going to check this book out from the library, but I found it online: http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=4OFSSHidzT0C&oi=fnd&pg=PP7&dq=Emmett+Till&ots=ycEbX1031A&sig=JQp-g4SddbwwAGqJ9p2lyf1YYOg#v=onepage&q&f=false
This is the ebook I posted about earlier: http://web.ebscohost.com/views/static/html/Error.htm?aspxerrorpath=/ehost/ebookviewer/ebook/nlebk_263271_AN
I also found three images licensed under Creative Commons. I’m not going to post the first picture on the blog, because it’s graphic. But if you want to see it, here it is. To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend looking at it. However, it really helped me realize the huge injustice done to this little boy. Murder is wrong, but you don’t really realize how brutal it is until you see something like this.
The image to the left is Emmett. The photo was taken about six months before his death. The image on the right is a street in Chicago that was renamed after Emmett’s death to honor him and his family.
I know for sure I’m using the song When The Children Cry by White Lion and Here’s to the State of Mississippi by Phil Ochs. I’ve got a long list of others to narrow down, but it’s a harder decision than I thought it would be. It’s a personal thing to me now. I feel like I have to do everything perfect for Emmett.