Who was Emmett Till? Emmett Till could have been your brother, son, uncle, nephew, or friend. Emmett Till could have been a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or anything that he put his mind to. He was the son of Mamie and Louis Till. Emmett Till was fourteen when he had his life stolen from him by Carolyn Bryant, Roy Bryant, and John Milam, three white supremacists who stole a child from his family because of how he looked and how they felt he should have acted.
Emmett Till was born into a working class neighborhood on July 25, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois. In the summer of 1955, Emmett Till was visiting family in Money, Mississippi, where he was bragging to a group of his friends that he had a white girlfriend back at home. His friends dared Emmett Till to ask a pretty, white twenty-one year old cashier out on a date. Little did they know that the simple act would cost Emmett Till his life. On August 24 at the time of the encounter, only two people were in the store: Carolyn Bryant and Emmett Till. Carolyn Bryant said that fourteen-year-old Emmett grabbed her waist and said, “You needn’t be afraid of me, baby. I’ve done this before." Carolyn later told her husband. On August 28, Roy Bryant and John Milam kidnapped Emmett and beat him to death by cutting his tongue out his mouth, cutting off his ears, knocking out his eyes and teeth, and lastly, shooting him in the head. Emmett’s body was unrecognizable. His mother Mamie Till insisted on having an open casket funeral so the world could see what happened to her son. The death of Emmett Till helped inspire and spark the Civil Rights Movement.
Over ten years later in 1955, Roy Bryant and John Milam were acquitted by an all white jury. Mamie Till died in 2003. In 2007, Carolyn Bryant, the woman who accused Emmett Till of the lewd act, admitted that she lied about the incident and said she felt bad for his mother. Carolyn Bryant is now in hiding. What happened to Emmett Till is still happening today to young African American men and women. Today, men and women are injured and killed and do not get justice. Everyone should know about Emmett Till because “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it."