Here, three major components of the Emmett Till murder that will be discussed are: what allegedly happened inside the Bryant Grocery and Meat market in Money, Mississippi on the evening of August 24, 1955…
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What makes the crime of Emmett Till’s murder so brutal is not only what was done to his body, but what was done to his soul—how his spirit was snuffed out like a light under a bushel, and all because Emmett Till was simply a Black boy in the wrong place at the wrong time. II. What Happened At the Bryant Grocery and Meat Market Emmett Till, a young, 14-year-old African-American youth, really wanted to go down South to Money, Mississippi, where Jim Crow laws were still in full effect in August of 1955. Emmett was from Chicago, in the North, where there was less discrimination—and the Jim Crow laws were not applied as harshly even though they were federal law. Emmett apparently insisted upon going to Mississippi to visit his cousins, even though Mamie Till-Mobley was dead-set against it (Till-Mobley and Benson 2004, 99). When Emmett and his family members pulled up to the Bryant Grocery and Meat Market that fateful day in August of 1955, there was an encounter between the teenager Emmett Till and Carolyn Bryant—the 21-year-old wife of Roy Bryant, the store owner. According to Carolyn Bryant’s testimony, Emmett Till put his hands around Mrs. Bryant’s waist and said some unpleasant things to her (“Transcript: Emmett Till Trial” 1955, 270). In addition, there is the famous allegation that Emmett Till ‘whistled’ at Carolyn Bryant. “It [was] alleged that Emmett Till “wolf whistled” and made some “ugly remarks” to Bryant’s 21-year-old wife” (Popham 1955, 64). In many media accounts, Mrs. Bryant is described as being attractive, or ‘pretty.’ This is emphasized when the story is told about how Emmett apparently may have physically accosted her in someway, however seemingly innocent. Mrs. Bryant testified that Emmett grabbed her hand when he asked to see the bubble gum from the showcase. Supposedly, he also asked her for ‘a date,’ and called her pet names instead of addressing her by the title “Ma’am,” which was common and the legal custom in the South. Much is debated about what actually went on at the store. There were various accounts of what happened from Emmett’s cousins and other boys in the neighborhood, one or some of which were alleged to have taunted Emmett to go into the store and ask ‘the pretty white lady’ for a ‘date.’ At any rate, Emmett had allegedly been boasting about how he had been with a white woman or women before, and showed a picture of a white girl in his wallet—whom his mother later claimed was a photo of Heddy Lamar, which came with the wallet. After Emmett came out of the store, “‘[h]e knew he had done something wrong, because he begged us not to tell daddy [Mose Wright],’ insisted [cousin Simeon] Wright in 2007. Parker agreed. ‘Everyone knew a wrong had been committed’” (Anderson 2008, 18). This wrong was just one stepping-stone which led to Emmett’s murder and his alleged murderers’ trial, which proved fruitless for the prosecution. Basically, the defense had at least five lawyers, one of which had gone to a prestigious Ivy League law school and was 71 years old. Also, besides that, basically all that the prosecution could prove was that a body had been found in the Tallahatchie River, but—even though Mrs. Till had been able to positively identify the body—the prosecution was not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this was the same person whom J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant had kidnapped. This was enough doubt to place in the mind of the jury that perhaps the person who had turned up in the river was not the
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Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin
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It is a scene
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