The spark of America’s Civil Rights Movement and the woman behind it

This black history month remember the bravery of Mamie Till.

On August 28, 1955, a black teenage boy named Emmett Till visiting relatives in Money Mississippi is alleged to have come across Carolyn Bryant and whistled at her outside a convenience store. Mrs Bryant recalled the event to her husband, after which he and his brother found, abducted and killed the boy in what is described as a brutal lynching. Emmett had been tortured, beaten and shot after which his body was thrown near the Tallahatchie River.

Emmet’s disfigured remains were found 3 days later. Locals called for a quick burial, as the body was unrecognisable only for the initials on the ring on his finger. After the devastating news of her son’s tragedy Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley demanded her son be transported back to Chicago. There, in a moment of defiance to the normality of racism that America had become, she chose to have the funeral be with an open casket to show the grave reality of the black person at that time.

The brutality and the calamity of Emmett Till became the catalyst of the decades of racially motivated murders and lynchings in America’s South and inspired thousands to attend and mourn this national tragedy. This sparked what is known today as the Civil Rights movement, aggravated by the fact that Emmett’s murderers were found not guilty by an all-white jury. It will be Mamie Till Mobley and her choice to not have her son’s death be in vain, showing the horrifying consequences of the social caste system that was placed to keep black people down.

The fight for black liberalisation and equality in America had started and in the following months would come some of the most strong and iconic demonstrations and protest the world had seen. With the image of Emmett Till and Rosa Parks being at the forefront of every charge for equal human rights.

Photo credits: Getty Images

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