Who Killed Emmett Till And Why Was He Murdered?

The case of Emmett Till was a tragic story that revolutionized the civil rights movement of the twentieth century. The United States of America is known as the land of the free but this “free” country has a large part of her history embedded in the transatlantic slave trade and the horrific injustices of the slavery era which had racism as its biggest driving force. Although the slave trade was abolished in the nineteenth century, the racism that was a major proponent for the continuance of the abolished trade seeped into the socio-economic relationship that existed between white people and newly freed black people. Emmett Till’s death was one of the many tragic killings that were prevalent in the period, especially in the Southern part of the country.

Who Killed Emmett Till?

When Emmett Till was killed, he was a fourteen-year-old and his murder is a defining story in the state of Mississippi where it took place. Till was born in Chicago in 1941, where he was raised by his mother Mamie, a single mother and in the course of his short life, he moved from Chicago to Detroit and then back to Chicago. The year he was killed was 1955, and his killing occurred while he was on vacation in Mississippi. Emmett Till, whose mother was originally from the state but fled when there was an exodus of blacks from Mississippi, still had relatives that lived there. His great-uncle, Mose Wright had spoken about the state in ways that piqued Emmett’s interest which led to him choosing to go there on holiday.

On the 28th of August, 1955 in the early hours of the day, two men Roy Bryant and J.W Milam went to the house of Mose Wright and kidnapped the fourteen-year-old Emmett Till. When they kidnapped him, they took him to the grocery store owned by Roy Bryant and proceeded to beat him repeatedly. After beating him, they took him down to the Tallahatchie River, shot him in the head and disposed of the body in the river where he was found three days after, by two boys fishing in the river. It was clear that he had been tortured from the many marks of a beating that was on him. During Till’s funeral, his mother requested that her son’s casket be left open, so that people could see what had led to his murder.

Emmett Till
Emmett Till’s murderer Roy Bryant and his wife Carolyn image source

Why Was He Murdered?

The death of Emmett Till which was a shock to the African-American community was caused by events that had been fabricated. Four days before his abduction, Till had gone to Bryant Grocery Store with some of his cousins. The store was owned by Roy Bryant, his killer and Bryant’s twenty-one-year-old wife, Carolyn.

Read Also: How Did Aileen Wuornos Become One of the Most Terrifying Female Serial Killers?

The truth about what transpired in that store has been twisted too many times, that the actual events are not clearly known. But it is certain that while Emmett Till was in the store, he had whistled. Now, whistling was a way to flirt with women in the past, and for Carolyn, a white young woman, Till’s whistling was a sign that he was trying to flirt with her, which was a taboo that had been put in place because of their racial differences.

However, Till who was a chronic stammerer was known to whistle because it helped him speak more clearly. As a young man who grew up in the more tolerant city of Chicago, he never had to worry about what that action might be interpreted as, but in the south where racial tensions were high, he had unwittingly signed himself up for murder.

When the case of his murder got to court, Carolyn Bryant lied that Emmett had grabbed her wrist and waist while speaking in a lewd manner to her while Till’s murderers had insisted that they did not kill him. The trial of his death has been identified as one of the major turning points that emboldened blacks towards white in the south where the trial had taken place. It was one of the most publicized cases of the year. Emmett Till’s killers were found not guilty by the jury that was made up of only white males. The story of his death and the ensuing trial exposed the institutionalized racism that affected the lives of black people who had no reprieve in the law for the injustices that were meted out to them daily.


Sam Raimi Net Worth: How Much Is The Filmmaker Worth In 2019?

Samuel M. Raimi is a multi-talented filmmaker well known for creating the Evil Dead series that generated a cult following, he is also known...

Why Did CocoSori Disband and What are the Former Members Doing Now?

For a few years, the not so popular k-pop; J-pop duo CocoSori, created by MOL Entertainment, thrilled their fans with heartfelt music and stirred...

Sofia Coppola Net Worth And How Much She Made From Her Movies

If there was really anyone that fits the bill of Hollywood royalty, then Sofia Coppola wouldn't be too far off the mark. She is...

Kris Wolf – 5 Interesting Facts To Know About The Wrestler

Born in America but made in Japan, Kris Hernandez better known by her ring name Kris Wolf is a larger than life personality, an...

Where are The ‘Shahs of Sunset’ Cast Now and How Old are They? 

Shahs of Sunset is a documentary reality TV show which focused on the lifestyle of a group of wealthy Iranian-Americans living in Beverly Hills. When...


Dwayne Johnson’s Parents: Dad, Mom And Family

Moms and Dads are important, yes some people get by without them, but it's so much easier when they are there and pose as...

Bill Hemmer Gay, Married, Wife, Family, Bio, Wiki

There are some people you can barely help but to know. One of such is Bill Hemmer. The journalist has had a good round...

Who Are Patrick Mahomes Parents And Family Members, His Bio And NFL Stats

Born to a father who was a professional athlete, Patrick Mahomes was born with athletic genes. Rather than follow in his father's footsteps to...

Is Steve Gleason Still Alive, Where Is He Today And Who Is His Wife?

Steve Gleason is a celebrated safety player for New Orleans Saints where he spent the majority of his playing career. He is best known...

Ata Johnson Wiki, Bio, Children, Husband, Family, Height, Net Worth

You may not have heard of Ata Johnson, but you must surely know former wrestling giant Dwayne Johnson popularly called The Rock? Yes, well...

Get the Latest Gist, Profiles and Trends Straight To Your in your inbox

Related Stories