Saturday, July 14, 2018

Emmett Till case reopened

News that the Emmett Till case is to be reopened 63 years after the murder took place reminded me of the 2014 visit that Dave Carroll and I made to the museum dedicated to his memory in the hamlet of Glendora, Mississippi.
Emmett Till's death was one of the sparks that lit the Civil Rights campaign in the US. He was a 14 year African American boy from Chicago who was visiting relatives in the south. He allegedly whistled at a white woman in the nearby village of Money and as a result was murdered and thrown off a nearby bridge by two white men. His mutilated body was laid in an open casket when it was recovered. An all white jury found the two suspects not guilty of Emmett's murder, but they subsequently admitted to a magazine that they had committed the murder.
Glendora is, like so many villages in rural Mississippi, a run down place with many derelict buildings. It was the home town of Sonny Boy Williamson, who often played there. The Emmett Till Historic Intrepid Center (ETHIC), based in a former cotton gin, is little publicised, or visited. When we arrived it was closed and deserted and we were about to leave when a lady drove up at fast speed in a battered car. Word must have got around that there were visitors there. She opened up and we had a good look around the museum, which told the story of the murder, the racist attitudes that prevailed (and still prevail) in the south, and information about the civil rights movement.
Now, it seems that the Department of Justice has reopened the 1955 case following claims in a book that the woman at the centre of the wolf whistling incident admitted in 2008 that she had lied.
Here are some photos taken on our visit, none of which have appeared in The Vinyl Word before.
Here are a couple taken at the remains of Bryant's Grocery in Money, where the alleged whistling offence took place. Photos were taken in 2015.


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