Then there is perhaps the most monstrous application of racial terror in our historical register: Aug. Then reach back almost 20 years before that, to 1998, when James Byrd Jr., a black man, was abducted by three white men and fatally dragged from the back of a pickup truck along unforgiving Texas asphalt.
According to recovered court transcripts released by the F. Bryant later informed her husband and his half brother, who proceeded to uphold a grim tradition: Till was abducted, beaten, shot in the head and thrown into the Tallahatchie River.
A 74-pound gin fan was tied to his neck with barbed wire, with the hope that he would never be found. P.-sponsored scheme” to disgrace Mississippi — but none perhaps more profoundly consequential than Bryant’s own admission to Tyson that the events that led to Till’s death didn’t happen as she had previously attested.
TYSON has written a concise and urgent book about Emmett Till’s 1955 murder in a small Mississippi town, a crime that ignited civil rights defenders into a long, hard struggle against the Jim Crow regime in the South, and inspired an outraged Rosa Parks to defy segregation laws on a Montgomery city bus.
It’s a macabre story of inhumanity and injustice, but also of resistance and unity across a divided nation. Fourteen-year-old Emmett, during a visit from Chicago to his family’s hometown of Money, Mississippi, allegedly whistled at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, in a grocery store. If it weren’t for the specific time and place, it’s unlikely to have become arguably the United States’s most consequential hate crime, the first act in a drama of reckoning that tested a nation’s moral fiber.
28, 1955, when 14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched.
The events of that bitter morning, their motivations and ramifications, have found a meticulous, if not their most exhaustive, retelling in Timothy B.
Tyson is a senior research scholar at Duke University and the author of “Blood Done Sign My Name,” about the 1970 lynching of Henry Marrow in Tyson’s hometown, and he tracks Till’s life from Argo, Ill., to Chicago, to his last moments in Money, Miss., where — despite the hesitation of his mother, Mamie — Till had sojourned with relatives.
On a Wednesday evening in August, Till allegedly flirted with and grabbed the hand of Carolyn Bryant, a white woman who worked as the cashier at a local market. in 2007, he let out a “wolf whistle” as she exited the store to get a gun from her car.
(The religious right, meanwhile, found powerful corporate sponsors who saw in the rhetoric of Christian individualism a vehicle and alliance to counter the federal government’s supposed impositions on states’ sovereignty.) And with the Black Monday decision in , Citizens’ Councils enforcing white supremacy rose up like boils as the South fought the infection of integration.
The supposed holiness of maintaining segregation ensured that local authorities would let any little white thug get away with all kinds of violence, aggravated by a reticence in Washington, DC to encroach on states’ rights and Southern turf.