5 Heartbreaking Takeaways From the Emmett Till Case
I attended a screening of Keith Beauchamp’s The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till. The panel pictured above included Mr. Beauchamp, two of Emmett’s cousins and the FBI investigator who investigated the case a few years ago. Toure moderated.
1. The men who kidnapped & killed Emmett were on the hunt for him. They approached two other boys thinking that those boys were the ones who whistled at Carolyn Bryant.
2. After the brunt of the beating, which left Emmett with a broken leg and two broken wrists as well as a severed tongue & penis, they shot Emmett to put him out of his misery — just as you would with a horse.
3. Emmett was a jokester, so he probably whistled at Carolyn Bryant just to make his cousins laugh. Just 14 and born and raised in Chicago, he didn’t understand the rules of the South.
4. Only the push from Mamie Till-Mobley led to the prominence of the case — specifically the body’s transport to Chicago, the decision to have an open casket and media coverage of the service and travesty.
5. Still, even with her efforts and this event inspiring the Civil Rights Movement, the white Philadelphia-raised FBI investigator had never heard of the case when it came across his desk.