Media Response: The blood of Emmett Till

By Tonia Whitaker

In 1955 a time of segregation, racism, and race riots; a young boy named Emmitt Till was horribly let down by the United States Constitution. Till was visiting his family in Mississippi from Chicago, Illinois. A woman named Carolyn Bryant accused the 14 year old boy of harassing her, while he was simply getting bubble gum at the local store while visiting his family. The women said he grabbed her waist and forcibly touched her. This lie caused him his life, because he was brutally mutilated and murdered. Roy Bryant and his half brother kidnapped Till from his family home and tortured him all night. Then, he tied a metal fan around his neck and threw him into a river.  The picture of his lifeless body in the casket spread an uproar of anger throughout the nation at the time when blacks and whites couldn’t even use the same bathroom.

The case went to trial and an all white jury acquitted Roy Bryant and his brother of the murder and left the case alone. As years went on and civil rights activists were fighting for justice in 2004; a man named Keith Beuchamp fought to reopen the case. Carolyn Bryant was questioned once again about the incident and in fact kept to her lie, but changed the story. Carolyn’s sister in law that was her supposed witness even admitted to not even being at the store at the time. Time went on and in January a man named Jim Tyson wrote a book called the Blood of Emmett Till during the interview of Carolyn who was now remarried and carrying a different last name.  In 2016 she stated that nothing Emmett did could justify what happened to him, and officially it was stated that Emmett Till was innocent. Now 82 years old there wasn’t much prosecutors nor the FBI could do at this time as many key witnesses were already passed including Roy Bryant and his brother who should be held fully responsible for Till’s murder.

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