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Emmett Till

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Emmett Louis Till was born in Chicago, Illinois to Louis and Mamie Till in July of 1941. When Emmett was four, he and his mother got word that his father, a soldier stationed in Italy during World War II, had been executed by the government (it wasn't revealed until many years later that his father was convicted by a court martial of the rape and murder of three Italian women, sentenced to death and subsequently hanged). Emmett was raised by his mother and grandmother and, in his early years, was said to have been a happy, normal young man who excelled at science and art in school and was known to love jokes. In 1955 his great-uncle Mose Wright came up from Mississippi for a funeral and at that time invited young Emmett back to Mississippi with him for a vacation. Unaware of the strict rules of segregation enforced in Mississippi, Emmett made the fatal mistake of paying "improper attention" to Carolyn Bryant, the wife of a white store owner. Though accounts vary, history has agreed that while visiting the store, Emmett directed a "wolf whistle" at Mrs. Bryant. After several days, her husband Roy and his half-brother J.W. Milam tracked down young Till at his great-uncle's house in the middle of the night and took him away to a plantation, where they tortured him, then murdered him and threw the body in the Tallahatchie River. It was discovered days later and shipped back home to Chicago, where his mother decided to put her son's grossly bloated and disfigured corpse on display at an open-casket funeral so that all Chicago could see the full horror of her son's death. The case made headlines worldwide, especially when Bryant and Milam were acquitted by an all-white jury back in Mississippi, and then began giving interviews bragging about how they had gotten away with murder and describing how they had tortured and killed Emmett. After failing to get President Dwight D. Eisenhower to reopen the case, Mrs. Till had the photos of her son's corpse published in "Jet" Magazine. The response to such a horrible act would remain in the minds of a generation of black people, and was said to have been the spark that put the Civil Rights Movement into motion.  See full bio on IMDb »

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