The Obscure tragedy of Emmett Louis Till
A tragedy like this one which had gotten very little press attention at the time of its occurrence was still able to bolster the start of the "Civil Rights Movement." From this one incident came Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Medgar Evans, Rosa Parks, and the list goes on to the culmination of the Civil Rights Movement. But truly it was the courage of a little black woman who was the mother of the victim of this terrible incident who forced the media to pay close attention to this case. In my book she was the individual who should get the credit for establishing the "Civil Rights Movement."
What created the Civil Rights Movement? Some say it was because of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., others say Mrs.Rosa Parks initialized the movement. The researched evidence however is emphatically contrary to these hypothesis, the international role of Dr. Martin Luther King jr. and Mrs.Rosa Parks were created as a systematic symptom of a prior situation which hailed in the recognition of both people along with the Civil Rights social movement. On the back drop of all that we have been told by the media about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mrs.Rosa Parks we have rarely been informed about the initial reasons for their establishment as crusaders of today's Civil liberties. Although most of the world has heard about the Civil Rights Movement there seems to be many provocative stories which appear to be insignificant if we chose to measure our perception on the media's historic publications of these events. There were many smaller events that lead up to the eventual Civil Rights Movement and the need for someone like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to vanguard as a leader of the movement, or the sudden champion to appear like Mrs.Rosa Parks to sacrifice herself for the mere right to be seated on a bus where or as she pleased.
As we all know segregation laws was extremely ruthless in America, which separated the entire black race from the white race, this included toilets, drinking fountains, all public transportation systems, restaurants, Hotels, motels, Playgrounds, theaters, churches, schools, hospitals and so on. It was a ridiculous rendition of laws under a system that projected freedom as there international theme, claiming to honor all men as equals. Segregation did not only mean separation of the two races in all places it also meant in the work place, so many blacks were not hired at many businesses or weren't allowed to eat in the same cafeteria as the other employees, the armed services also treated blacks with less humanity than they did the enemy soldiers that America fought against. For many years blacks were unable to take many formidable positions due to their race, at present we are still saying the term “the first black ” somebody to do what ever. Segregation meant that blacks would receive a unrefined quality of healthy foods in their supermarkets, depressed sanitation services in their neighborhoods, little to no police protection around the country, in fact even the police brutalized blacks, and no judicial equality within the court system. Politics really didn't exist for the black man back in the day, and of course that was another reason for such a movement as the Civil Rights movement. After slavery black men and black women continued to be killed by white mobs in gruesome ways, analogues to mutilation, being hung, or burned alive, (this was called “Negro barbeque's” in which school attendance was canceled for white students so that they may attend.) these events were always published which meant that the media and the authorities were complicit or accomplices to these crimes or at the least covertly sanctioning them. Many of the politicians, doctors, school teachers, police officers and firemen who were all white people also attended the “Negro barbeque's”, these were many of the people that black people in the black side of town looked up to. Oh of course there are some good white people, yet back then it seemed that they were afraid like everyone else, so they went along to see the show and receive their souvenirs at the “Negro barbeque's”, as body parts was past around for trinkets and personal memorandums. I'd like to look on the bright side of things too, to be optimistic; Tell me, could you be able, to be positive after knowing that your father and mother was being mutilated somewhere in the woods? I should think not. How long will your optimistic position be valid, will you be able to sleep at night or cry without tears, screaming without sound. How many years will it take to heal from something like that? Now multiply this horrific feeling of loss a million times and you have manifested todays black race. Strangely enough medical researchers, doctors, and social scientist have all said that people who experience a grand traumatic dilemma like soldiers, people who witnessed a murder, child abuse and so on is subject to Post traumatic Syndrome, and at the same time they say that blacks slaves and the children of those slaves didn't fit the medical criterion for Post Traumatic Syndrome.
Just consider for a moment, hypothetically speaking, you have just come off of the main line of the war in Germany, and have seen the worst that Hitler had to offer. Many of your friends and comrades have fallen to their deaths in the most diabolical and egregious ways, so bad in fact it was intensely difficult for you to remain sane. But you somehow recovered yourselves as best as is possible under those tremendous but horrifying conditions, you then return to your military facility with your report. Now most Soldiers after going through all of the gruesome details of a war (I really didn't expound on all the atrocities of most wars) are subject to Post traumatic syndrome as reported by the psychological and medical industry, which in most cases the symptoms last a life time regardless of medical or psychological treatment. Black soldiers who in my opinion have been traumatized long before entering the war usually have not been treated or classified with Post Traumatic syndrome.
Regardless of how long the war lasted slavery and racism lasted for the life and duration of the slaves, and the trauma that is so detrimental causing Post Traumatic syndrome is a recurring (new and daily traumatic experiences) and ongoing cinema.
All of these unseen conditions manifested in the establishment of the infamous Civil rights Movement, but the last straw that catapulted and jump started the movement happened in the south when in 1955 a 14 year old Negro boy went to visit his uncle for the summer. This true story has generally been under publicized by the media surely because it was too graphic and too gruesome for such a tale to reach the virgin ears of Americans or the international community. I mean what will the politicans say during one of their foreign policy campaigns, how would they exclaim human rights or sign the various human rights treaties while at home they were brutalizing their own black citizens?
Most young people today have never heard of this young boy, because even today the media refrains from posting his story. His name was Emmett Louis Till he was an average young man who was curious, courteous, respectful to everyone, considerate to his mother, and like most kids wanted to enjoy himself. Emmett begged his mother to let him travel from the north and go with his cousin to visit his family in the south, it took a lot of begging but she finally agreed. Before leaving he kissed his mother, he'd left his watch with her saying that he wouldn't need it where he was going, but he didn't leave his father's ring that he was wearing so that he could show it off to the fellas. As his uncle recalled Emmett to be a handsome young man, a little on the chubby side but fun ridden and like to joke around a lot. One thing was certain, his uncles never suspected that Emmett didn't understand the rules of the south, that he didn't know that whites and blacks don't socialize together.
Most of the lynchings in the south that occurred after slavery was done to a black man crediting the account of white women; his involvement or accusation of his involvement with a white woman. Hangings were far more prevalent in the south than the North although they did occur without intervention from the authorities.
Emmett Till did his usual fun ridden amusements, playing and joking around with his cousins and uncles. One day they all decided to take a ride and go down to the town store, Emmett climbed into the vehicle with everybody else, of course still laughing and having fun. They reached town and his uncles went into the store, Emmett and his cousin later went into the store. Both of his uncles were on their way back and left Emmett inside the store so one of them knowing how difficult things werebetween the races went back into the store to monitor the events taking place while Emmett shopped. The proprietor of the store was a slim fare skin looking white woman whom Emmett thought was beautiful, no one knows what was said or if anything was said between them. Emmett and his uncle left the store with their purchases, with his unce leaving first. While heading for the vehicle the white woman came out of the store and to everyones surprise Emmett broke a taboo by whistling at the white woman and they all got scared. His uncles showed their fear in their faces and Emmett not knowing what had happen became frighten too. They ran to the vehicle started it up and raced away from the area as fast as the vehicle would carry them. Meanwhile the store keeper called two other men who later that night came to Emmett's Grandfather's house with guns and forced his family to surrender Emmett, telling them that they was just going to teach him a lesson. There were more young black men who were hired by these white men to help to subdue Emmett, finally they had dragged him into the truck and left with Emmett struggling in the back of the truck. You can imagine the fear of the family as these men burst into the house with guns brandishing, yelling, cursing, and threating everyone.
My son has said to me why didn't his uncles do something? This was an legitimate question and a very good one, but what my son didn't know was that black men back then was unable to do a lot of things back in the day, a black policemen was unable to arrest a white man, he could only hold him for the white policemen. Back in the day black people were not allowed to walk on the same side of the street with a white person, eat at the same table or food counter, use the same toilets, or ride in the front of the train or bus. He didn't understand that there were hundreds of laws which prevented blacks from every avenue in life that would enlarge there abilities especially if it meant some form of integration with white people, it was a separate but unequal world in which blacks always got the raw end of the bargain. He couldn't understand that the deaths of blacks let alone the psychological trauma that they experienced as a on going illness doesn't merit news or media worthiness.
If these black men had fought against these men for trying to kidnap their nephew they would have indeed been hung, their family may have been killed and their processions taken. And so I got him the tape called the "Rosewood" Massacre which happened or started in Florida and the killings ended up in many northern states in the American southern coast. This was an incident of mass murder which also occurred as a result of a white women's lie. After cheating on her husband and fighting with her white boyfriend her husband demanded to know who beat her up. She lied and said a black man had rapped and beat her, and the white townsmen went wild, killing anyone they could find that was across town in the black part of town. They killed women, children and men, and this madness leaked from Florida and flooded into many the other southern counties and states. The record shows that thousands of black lives have been lost to this one incident and yet no one was charged with a crime or went to jail.
Emmett Louis Till was hung by his hands in a barn, severely beaten, his right eye fell out of his head, his tongue was cut and spun back into his mouth, his head was split into two so that his face was separated from the back of his head and then he was shot in the head to put him out of his agony. Later Emmett was found in the Tallahassee River, his bloated body shown that he had been there for several days, his smell was horrendous it smelled for blocks. His mother was notified, as she got the call from her uncles in the south she being in the north surely fell apart. She went down to the funeral home to survey the body and she saw that they had knocked out all of his teeth except for two,( She said he kept such good care of his teeth, they were the most beautiful teeth she had ever seen) he was missing an ear and a eye and the other eye hung from its socket, his face hung forward as they had taken a hatchet and cut him in the top of his head causing his face to be separated from the back of his head. Most of the trauma was seen about the face and the head area, and the funeral director asked Mrs. Till if she wanted to have a closed casket, she said no, then he ask her if she wanted him to fix him up a little, again she said no. I was sincerely proud of Mrs. Louise (Mame Bradley) Till, for having the strength and the courage to use this terrible incident as a means to show the world what America had become, and to show America who they really are. Emmett's body had shown the world how vicious and scandalous White America had become it showed that slavery had not ended when it officially ended. Justice and equality had not been discovered within the boarders of America for the black race.
Four days later Mrs.Rosa Parks refuse to give up her seat to a white man and thus the Civil Rights Movement began.
The Emmett Till case was like any other black case in America at that time, it herald a white judge, white lawyers, an all white jury, and half the court was white people who supported the two white men, while the other half was blacks. Ironically I saw in that court room the vibration of America, separate an unequal, two nations with segregated hearts.
And of course it ended in the usual style as all other black vs. white court cases of this magnitude, where the white men were acquitted even though it was proven that they kidnapped the boy from his temporary resident at gun point, even though there was also witnesses that place the two white men at the area of the barn where Emmett was hung and beaten, there were also people who heard the beatings and Emmett whimpering and crying out, and one of his uncles testified that it was these two white men that hauled him away from the house never to be seen alive again. I didn't exhibit the names of the two white assailants or of the white women store keeper who initialized this whole incident, because I felt that they were not worthy enough to be exhibited on the same page along with Emmett Till's name. However you can get the rest of the historical tragedy on YouTube or you can do some research, they have many photos, videos and books which detail these events.
Doc I believe there was a misdiagnosis, I see millions of Post Traumatized victims right here in America, What's your prognosis.
After Emmett was killed and the body surveyed & the autopsy completed by the authorities the sheriff tried to bury the body without the mother's permission. Years later the two white men who had kidnapped Emmett Till from his Grandfather's house confessed to his murder. On January 24, 1956 Look Magazine published the confession of the two white men, they agreed to tell their story to reporter William Bradford Huie for $4000. "Double Jeopardy Rule" prevented them from being tried again.