Emmett Till’s Death Inspired a Movement


The alleged teasing of white store clerk Carolyn Bryant by the 14 year-old African American Emmett Till led to his brutal murder at the hands of Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, forcing the American public to grapple with the menace of violence in the Jim Crow South. According to court documents, Till, who was visiting family for the summer in Money, Mississippi, from Chicago, purchased two-cents worth of bubble gum from the Bryant Grocery store and said, “Bye, baby” over his shoulder to Carolyn Bryant as he exited the store.

That night Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam ran into Emmett’s uncle’s home where he was staying, dragged Till from his bed, beat him to the point of disfigurement, and shot him before tossing his body into the Tallahatchie River…

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