Civil Rights, Emmitt Till Case

In August 1955, a fourteen year old African American boy from Chicago named Emmett Till went to visit relatives near Money, Mississippi. While he had experienced racial discrimination in his hometown of Chicago, he was unaccustomed to the severe segregation he encountered in Mississippi. Soon after talking in "too friendly a manner" with a young white woman in a store, he was kidnapped in the night at gunpoint and brutally murdered by two white men. He was badly beaten before being shot and the corpse was nearly unrecognizable. His mother insisted on an open casket funeral in Chicago and news of Emmett Till's murder shocked America and the world. An all-white jury failed to convict the accused murderers, adding a further sense of injustice. The case is viewed as a turning point in the civil rights movement because of the notoriety it gave to the plight of African Americans in the South.

  1. Documents