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The Emmett Till Murder and Trial

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									The Emmett Till
Murder and Trial
Social Context of the 1950’s
                                          Mississippi Dixiecrats
                                           (1948)
                                          Truman - 1940’s, berated
                                           for liberalism - Military
                                          NAACP - Congress of
            QuickTime™ and a
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                                           Racial Equality (CORE)
                                          Beginning of Civil Rights
                                           Movement - Brown v.
                                           Board of Education
                                           (1954)
                                          Plessy v. Ferguson
                                           (1896) - Separate But
                                           Equal
Impact on Emmett Till
   Till From Northern
    Chicago
   Migration of the 1920’s
    and 1930’s
   Black Belt, South Side              Qui ckTi me™ and a
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   Jazz and Business
   Mississippi System -
    Different set of Values
       The Trial
And the brutal killing that mobilized the civil rights movement
The Story
   In August 1955, a fourteen-year-old black boy whistled at a white
    woman in a grocery store in Money, Mississippi. Emmett Till, a teen
    from Chicago, didn't understand that he had broken the unwritten
    laws of the Jim Crow South until three days later, when two white
    men dragged him from his bed in the dead of night, beat him
    brutally and then shot him in the head. Although his killers were
    arrested and charged with murder, they were both acquitted quickly
    by an all-white, all-male jury. Shortly afterwards, the defendants
    sold their story, including a detailed account of how they murdered
    Till, to a journalist. The murder and the trial horrified the nation and
    the world. Till's death was a spark that helped mobilize the civil
    rights movement.
Basic Info
   Trial lasted about 5 days

   Trial took place in the deep
    southern city of Sumner,
    Mississippi their slogan was
    “A good place to raise a boy.”

   Racism played a large role in
    the happenings of the trial.
The Jury
   Blacks and white women
    were banned from
    serving on the jury.

   And so an all-white, 12-
    man jury made up of nine
    farmers, two carpenters
    and one insurance agent
    was selected.
    Eyewitnesses
   The most dramatic testimony came from
    some unlikely heroes, two
    sharecroppers who were threatened
    with death if they testified.

   Moses Wright, Emmett's great uncle,
    was the prosecution's best eyewitness.
    He stood up in court and pointed out
    Milam and Bryant as the men who came
    to his home and took Emmett at
    gunpoint.
   Willie Reed, an 18-year-old
    sharecropper, testified that he heard
    beatings and screaming coming from
    the Milam family shed. He also said J.
    W. Milam had come out of the shed,
    donning a .45 pistol on his hip, and
    asked Reed whether he had heard
    anything. Reed told him no.
Short Jury Deliberations
   Defense attorney Sidney Carlton
    told the all-white, all-male jury that
    if they didn't free Milam and
    Bryant: "Your ancestors will turn
    over in their grave, and I'm sure
    every last Anglo-Saxon one of
    you has the courage to free these
    men.“

   After deliberating for only 67
    minutes, the jury returned a
    verdict: not guilty. Reporters said
    they overheard laughing inside
    the jury room. One juror later
    said: "We wouldn't have taken so
    long if we hadn't stopped to drink
    pop."
Newspaper Coverage
   National Coverage
       Bias of coverage
       Chicago Daily Tribune
   International Coverage
       Story covered across the globe including Paris,
        Copenhagen, Tokyo
       "The life of a Negro in Mississippi is not worth a
        whistle." – Observation by a European paper
Killers’ Confession
 The Shocking Story of Approved Killing in
  Mississippi
 Bryant and Milam sell “true” story to Look
  Magazine
     Over sexualized account
     Recounted in way to gain approval
Till Case starts Civil Rights
movement
                                          Montgomery Bus Boycott
                                          The Shocking Story of
                                           Approved Killing in Mississippi
                                          1957 Store Boycott
                                          Search for Witnesses and
                                           increased role of NAACP
          QuickTime™ an d a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor          Northern Blacks become
   are need ed to see this picture .       involved
                                          There were still setbacks
Modern Media reopens Till
Case
                  Bob Dylan in 1962 wrote
                   The Death of Emmett Till
                  2003 PBS premiers “The
                   Murder of Emmett Till”
                  Keith Beauchamp’s "The
                   Untold Story of Emmett
                   Louis Till."
                  U.S. Justice department
                   reopened the case in
                   May 2004

								
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