Jackson, Mississippi has a famous sign to mark the site where Emmett Till’s body was found in 1955. Emmitt Till’s body was found near Tallahatchie River, which had a road running close to it. The sign has been vandalized and torn down. The signs for Emmett Till have been vandalized ever since they were erected. So far, 8 signs have been erected and vandalized.
Emmett Till was visiting his uncle in Mississippi in Aug. 1955. Till whistled at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham. Some accounts of the alleged encounter differ, in saying that Till talked to the white woman. Carolyn Bryant worked at her husband’s store, so if Till went to talk to her regarding something about business, it was understood. Carolyn was then 21 years old. Years later, she would become divorced from her husband, Ron Bryant.
J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant were accused of abducting Emmett Till, 14, from his uncle’s home. Emmett Till’s body was found in Tallahatchie River 3 days later. Till’s face was badly mutilated by a cotton gin fan.
Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam went to trial and were acquitted in 1955. It was outrageous that in 1956, Bryant and Milam confessed to killing Emmett Till in an interview with Look magazine in 1956.
Emmett Till’s murder investigation was reopened in 2004. In 2006 a Leflore County grand jury declined to indict Carolyn Bryant Donham, now 73. Milam and Roy Bryant are dead.
Physically, only Carolyn Bryant Donham is left as a reminder of Emmett Till. However, Emmett Till has gone down in history as one of the most powerful agents to galvanize the civil rights movement in the late 1950s.
Keith Beauchamp, a film maker, produced the movie, “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till”.
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