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Emmett Till

Source: Bettmann / Getty

The Story of Emmet Till is one of the most tragic stories in American history. Emmett Louis Till was 14-year’s-old when he was kidnapped, tortured, and lynched in Mississippi in 1955. Today would have been his 81st birthday, and as we reflect on the constant battle against racism, hatred, and violence, we also remember Till’s legacy. 

See, Emmet Till didn’t die in vain. In March 2022 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Emmet Till anti-lynching act which made lynching a federal hate crime. The bill, which was introduced by the late John Lewis in 2007, also allowed for the reopening of unsolved murder cases against Black people during the civil rights movement.

Even though Till’s murder was more than 65 years ago, folks still want accountability and justice for his death. 

Carolyn Bryant Donham, the 88-year-old woman who played a role in Till’s 1955 abduction and lynching is back in the spotlight after new evidence was recovered.

In August 1955, Emmet Till was visiting Mississippi from Chicago. During a trip to Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market, Donham falsely accused Till of flirting with her and grabbing her. Witnesses said that he only whistled at her. The accusation prompted her then-husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam to abduct the teenager at gunpoint from his great-uncle’s home. After torturing and lynching Till, the men tied a cotton-gin fan around his body and threw him into the Tallahatchie River where he was found several days later.

His mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, insisted that her son have an open casket so that the world could see the savagery of white supremacist aggression which has always treated Black children as enemy combatants in the same brutal manner as adults.

Milam and Bryant were charged with murder but acquitted by an all-white, all-male jury. The men confessed to their crimes in an interview with Look magazine just months later, but double jeopardy laws prevented them from being tried again. Though Donham was also named on the original arrest warrant, she was never served.

In June 2022, filmmaker Keith Beauchamp and his colleagues found the unserved warrant for Donham in the basement of the historic Leflore County Courthouse in Greenwood, Mississippi.

Now members of Emmett’s family are calling for the warrant to finally be served. Sadly, the office of Mississippi’s attorney general has stated that neither the revelation of a decades-old unserved warrant nor a memoir written by the woman is enough to bring new charges against Donham. 

The death of Emmett Till sent shockwaves through American households. But the actions of Till’s mother are what made people have to pay attention. The open casket of her son forced people to see the viciousness and ugliness of racism. 

Below is a collection of archived photos of Emmett Till’s life, his lynching, and the murder trial for his death. 

The post Emmett Till’s Life, Lynching And Murder Trial In Photos appeared first on NewsOne.

Emmett Till’s Life, Lynching And Murder Trial In Photos  was originally published on newsone.com

1. Emmett Till

Emmett Till Source:Getty

Emmett Till is shown lying on his bed. 

2. Emmett Till Protest At Sharp St. Church

Emmett Till Protest At Sharp St. Church Source:Getty

African American community gathers for the Emmett Till protest at Sharp St Church, 1955. 

3. ‘Mamie Bradley Airport’

'Mamie Bradley Airport' Source:Getty

Mamie Bradley, mother of lynched teenager Emmett Till, receives her baggage at the Philadelphia International Airport before speaking at the NAACP, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1955. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

4. Mamie Till Weeping at Arrival of Slain Son

Mamie Till Weeping at Arrival of Slain Son Source:Getty

Sinking to knees, Mamie Till-Bradley weeps as the body of her murdered 14-year-old son, Emmett Louis Till, arrives at Chicago Rail Station, Chicago, Illinois, December 2, 1955. Around her are Bishop Louis J Ford, Gene Mabley, and Bishop Isiak Roberts, of St Paul’s Church of Christ and God. Bradley’s son had been kidnapped and murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman during a trip to Mississippi. (Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images) 

5. Mose Wright & Maurice Wright

Mose Wright & Maurice Wright Source:Getty

American farmer and preacher Mose Wright (1890-1977) and his son, Maurice Wright (1939-1991), on the Grover Frederick Plantation in Money, Mississippi, 18th September 1955. Mose was the uncle of Black teenager Emmett Till who was kidnapped and murdered after he was alleged to have whistled at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, with Mose giving evidence at the trial of those accused of the murder. (Photo by Bettmann Archive via Getty Images) 

6. ‘Mamie Bradley Oath’

'Mamie Bradley Oath' Source:Getty

Mamie Bradley, mother of lynched teenager Emmett Till, swears an oath in court, 1955. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images) 

7. ‘Mamie Bradley Dinner’

'Mamie Bradley Dinner' Source:Getty

Mamie Bradley, mother of lynched teenager Emmett Till, stands with her father John Carson (left) and the reporter who covered the Emmett Till trial, Jimmy Hicks (right), September 12, 1955. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images) 

8. ‘Mamie Bradley Speech’

'Mamie Bradley Speech' Source:Getty

Mamie Bradley, mother of lynched teenager Emmett Till, delivers a speech, Baltimore, Maryland, 1955. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

9. ‘Mamie Bradley Police’

'Mamie Bradley Police' Source:Getty

Mamie Bradley, mother of lynched teenager Emmett Till, speaks with her father and a police interviewer, 1955. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

10. Mamie Till Portrait

Mamie Till Portrait Source:Getty

Portrait of Mamie Till Bradley, mother of Emmett Till, the teenager murdered in a racially motivated attack in Mississippi, smoking a cigarette, Sumner, Mississippi, September 1, 1955. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

11. Mamie Till Bradley

Mamie Till Bradley Source:Getty

Mamie Till Bradley, mother to Emmett Till the victim of a racially motivated murder in 1955, with her father, Emmet Till’s grandfather, Sumner, Mississippi, September 1, 1955. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images) 

12. Overhead View of Trial Proceedings

Overhead View of Trial Proceedings Source:Getty

Interior view of the segregated seating in the packed Tallahatchie County Courthouse during the trial of J W Milam and Roy Bryant who were accused of the murder of Emmett Till, Sumner, Mississippi, September 1955. (Photo by Bettmann via Getty Images) 

13. Church Protest

Church Protest Source:Getty

(Original Caption) Harlem, Manhattan, New York, New York: A meeting to protest the acquittal in Mississippi of two white men accused of the murder of Emmett Louis Till, a 14 year old Negro boy, was held in Harlem’s Williams Institutional C.M.E. Church today. Mrs. Bradley, mother of the boy, weeps as many speakers denounced the decision made by the jury. Seated with Mrs. Bradley is her father, John Carthan. One of the defendants, Roy Bryant, said young Till had whistled at his young wife.

14. Mourners and Others at Emmett Till Funeral

Mourners and Others at Emmett Till Funeral Source:Getty

(Original Caption) Chicago: Mourners and curiosity seekers flock around entrance to Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ here during funeral services for Emmett Till, 14, Chicago boy slain in Mississippi recently while on vacation. Till, a Negro, was kidnapped by two white man and later found slain, after he reportedly whistled at white woman in Greenwood, Miss. About 50,000 persons viewed the body at chapel here late September 2 and early September 3. 

15. Mrs. Mamie Bradley Watches as Her Son is Lowered into the Ground

Mrs. Mamie Bradley Watches as Her Son is Lowered into the Ground Source:Getty

(Original Caption) Friends restrain grief-stricken Mrs. Mamie Bradley (left) as her son’s body is lowered into the grave after a four day, open casket funeral. The 15-year old Negro youngster, Emmett Till, was shot and clubbed to death last week in Greenwood, Mississippi. He is believed to have been murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Two men have confessed kidnapping the youth by deny killing him.

16. Emmett Till Trial

Emmett Till Trial Source:Getty

Deputy sheriff searching the crowd gathered in the courtroom at the start of the trial of Roy Bryant and John Milan for murdering Emmett Till in 1955, in a controversial case in which the accused men were acquitted, Sumner, Mississippi, September 1, 1955. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images) 

17. Mamie Bradley Crying at Funeral

Mamie Bradley Crying at Funeral Source:Getty

(Original Caption) Chicago: Mrs. Mamie Bradley, mother of Emmett Till, 14, who was found slain in Mississippi where he was on vacation, is near hysteria as she attends funeral services here. Till was found with bullet through head after two white men had kidnapped him. 

18. Emmett Till Funeral

Emmett Till Funeral Source:Getty

Mrs Mamie Bradley (center) reacts as the body of her son, Emmett Till, is lowered into his grave during the funeral, September 1955. Her son, fourteen year old Emmett Till, was shot and murdered in Greenwood, Mississippi. 

19. U.S. Senate Apologizes For Failure To Enact Anti-Lynching Legislation

U.S. Senate Apologizes For Failure To Enact Anti-Lynching Legislation Source:Getty

CHICAGO – JUNE 13: Leon Smith examines photographs from the funeral of Emmett Till at the Chicago Historical Society June 13, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. The “Without Sanctuary” exhibit features a collection of lynching photographs and other memorabilia. The Senate today is expected to apologize for its past failures to pass a law stop lynching, a crime that cost the lives of over 4,700 people, mostly blacks, between 1882 and 1968. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) 

20. Emmett Till Murder Case

Emmett Till Murder Case Source:Getty

Mr. and Mrs. Roy Bryant (left) and Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Milan kissing after acquital. 

21. Emmett Till Murder

Emmett Till Murder Source:Getty

Cartoon in Le Figaro, French newspaper, entitled “Le Droit De Vivre” (“The Right to Live”) commenting on the Emmett Till racially motivated murder in Mississippi in 1955, Paris, France, October 1, 1955. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images) 

22. Mrs. Bryant Testifies In Emmett Till Case

Mrs. Bryant Testifies In Emmett Till Case Source:Getty

Pencil sketches show defense witness Carolyn Bryant and the head of defense attorney John W. Whitten (1919 – 2003) during the trial of her husband, Roy Bryant, and JW Milam in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, Sumner, Mississippi, September 22, 1955. Bryant had accused Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago, of flirting with her, which led to his murder at the hands of her husband and Milam. (Photo by Franklin McMahon/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

23. Willie Reed Testifies In Emmett Till Case

Willie Reed Testifies In Emmett Till Case Source:Getty

Ink and wash illustration shows prosecution witness Willie Reed as he testifies during the trial of JW Milam and Roy Bryant in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, Sumner, Mississippi, September 22, 1955. Milam and Bryant were accused of the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who had allegedly flirted with Bryant’s wife, a white woman. Reed testified to having heard sounds of a beating in a shed and having seen Milam leave that shed. (Photo by Franklin McMahon/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images) 

24. Willie Reed Testifies In Emmett Till Case

Willie Reed Testifies In Emmett Till Case Source:Getty

Pencil sketch shows three illustrations of prosecution witness Willie Reed as he testifies during the trial of JW Milam and Roy Bryant in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, Sumner, Mississippi, September 22, 1955. Milam and Bryant were accused of the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who had allegedly flirted with Bryant’s wife, a white woman. Reed testified to having heard sounds of a beating in a shed and having seen Milam leave that shed. (Photo by Franklin McMahon/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images) 

25. Mrs. Bryant Testifies In Emmett Till Case

Mrs. Bryant Testifies In Emmett Till Case Source:Getty

Ink and wash illustration shows defense attorney Caleb Sidney Carlton (1915 – 1966) (left) and defense witness Carolyn Bryant during the trial of her husband, Roy Bryant, and JW Milam in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, Sumner, Mississippi, September 22, 1955. Also pictured are circuit judge Curtis M Swango Jr (1908 – 1968) (right) and court reporter James T. O’Day (? – 1993). Bryant had accused Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago, of flirting with her, which led to his murder at the hands of her husband and Milam. Here, Carlton demonstrates the manner in which Bryant claimed Till placed his hands on her hips. (Photo by Franklin McMahon/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

26. Wright Testifies In Emmett Till Case

Wright Testifies In Emmett Till Case Source:Getty

Pencil sketch shows prosecution witness Moses Wright (also known as Mose Wright, 1892 – 1977) as he points out the accused in the trial of JW Milam and Roy Bryant in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, Sumner, Mississippi, September 19, 1955. Milam and Bryant were accused of the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who had allegedly flirted with Bryant’s wife, a white woman; Wright was Till’s uncle. (Photo by Franklin McMahon/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images) 

27. Personalities In Emmett Till Case

Personalities In Emmett Till Case Source:Getty

Partially completed ink and wash illustration various people during the trial of JW Milam and Roy Bryant in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, Sumner, Mississippi, week of September 19, 1955. Milam and Bryant were accused of the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who had allegedly flirted with Bryant’s wife, a white woman. Among those pictured are defense witness Tallahatchie County Sheriff Henry Clarence ‘HC’ Strider (1904 – 1970) (left), circuit judge Curtis M Swango Jr (1908 – 1968) (third left), court reporter James T. O’Day (? – 1993) (third right), and defense attorney Caleb Sidney Carlton (1915 – 1966) (standing right). (Photo by Franklin McMahon/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images) 

28. Wright Testifies In Emmett Till Case

Wright Testifies In Emmett Till Case Source:Getty

Ink and wash illustration shows Moses Wright (also known as Mose Wright, 1892 – 1977) (standing, left) as he points out the accused in open court during the trial of JW Milam and Roy Bryant in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, Sumner, Mississippi, September 19, 1955. Milam and Bryant were accused of the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who had allegedly flirted with Bryant’s wife, a white woman; Wright was Till’s uncle. At left, is circuit judge Curtis M Swango Jr (1908 – 1968). (Photo by Franklin McMahon/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images) 

29. Prosecting Attorney In Emmett Till Case

Prosecting Attorney In Emmett Till Case Source:Getty

Pencil sketch of Assistant Attorney General Robert Bruce Smith III (1914 – 1967) and the child of one of the defendants during the trial of the trial of JW Milam and Roy Bryant in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, Sumner, Mississippi, week of September 19, 1955. Milam and Bryant were accused of the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who had allegedly flirted with Bryant’s wife, a white woman. Both defendants took their wives and children to portions of the trial. (Photo by Franklin McMahon/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images) 

30. Defendants In Emmett Till Case

Defendants In Emmett Till Case Source:Getty

Pencil sketch shows defendants John William ‘JW’ Milam (1919 – 1980) (right) and Roy Bryant (1931 – 1994) (second left) during their trial in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, Sumner, Mississippi, week of September 19, 1955, 1955. Milam and Bryant were accused of the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who had allegedly flirted with Bryant’s wife, a white woman. (Photo by Franklin McMahon/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images) 

31. Strider Testifies In Emmett Till Case

Strider Testifies In Emmett Till Case Source:Getty

Pencil sketch shows defense witness Tallahatchie County Sheriff Henry Clarence ‘HC’ Strider (1904 – 1970) as he answers questions from prosecuting attorney Robert B Smith III (not pictured) during the trial of JW Milam and Roy Bryant in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, Sumner, Mississippi, September 22, 1955. Milam and Bryant were accused of the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who had allegedly flirted with Bryant’s wife, a white woman. (Photo by Franklin McMahon/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)