It was all a lie. 82-year-old, Carolyn Bryant, finally admits that 14-year-old, #Emmett Till, was innocent.
Imagine sending your son to visit your family and for him to return to you unrecognisable. Imagine he was so badly beaten that not even you could confidently say, "that is my son". Imagine finding out that he was kidnapped, mutilated, tied to the back of a moving vehicle and dragged for miles, lynched with barbed wire, shot in the head and dumped in a river; all because of the colour of his skin.
The story of Emmett Till is one that many know. In August 1955, Emmett Till went from Chicago to Mississippi to visit family. The 14-year-old African American boy entered a shop to purchase some chewing gum and allegedly wolf-whistled at Carolyn Bryant, 21, a white woman. During a time of serious racial inequality and tensions, merely making eye contact with a white woman was a "crime" punishable by death.
Three days later, the young boy's disfigured and swollen body was found in the Tallahatchie river. Roy Bryant, the husband of Carolyn Bryant, and his half-brother, JW William, were the men responsible for his murder. However, the two men faced an all-white jury and were cleared of the crime. The duo later publicly boasted about their crime and stated that it was to warn other blacks.
The 21-year-old had testified in court that Emmett Till had not only wolf-whistled at her but also grabbed and verbally harassed her. Now, in 2017, 62 years after the brutal attack, it appears that Carolyn Bryant had completely fabricated the events of that unfortunate day. Bryant spoke to Timothy Tyson, author of, "The Blood Of Emmett Till" where she gave her long-over-due confession. Bryant added, "Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him". In my opinion, it is too little, too late.
Till had died. She had lied.
Mississippi has long been known for its deep rooted racism. "The South" was notorious for its barbaric and evil methods of 'dealing' with any unwanted African Americans. Lynchings- a method of hanging named after the brutal slave plantation owner who developed it, Willie Lynch- was an all too common sight. They were often referred to as "legal lynchings". African Americans needed not have even been found guilty of committing any crime and they would be hung up and set ablaze. Not only would the racist mob that were responsible watch, the family of the victim would often be forced to do so too.
Emmett Till's death was viewed as the lynching that shocked the African American community and served as a catalyst for the civil rights movement due to its sheer vulgarity. The racial dichotomy between White Americans and African Americans was so evidently a result of racial propaganda and the white supremacist ideologies that had been systematically allowed to manifest during this time. No longer could the blatant disregard for Black lives be stomached, as Till's death sent shockwaves around #America - a country that had been built by the same people who were being prosecuted.
The real tragedy
Emmett Till was killed over a lie. A young boy who still had his whole life ahead of him was murdered because of a white woman who abused the privilege of her skin colour. Till's mother, Mamie Till, who passed away in 2003, died not fully knowing the real truth. Carolyn Bryant is still alive, although her exact location is unknown.
Till's mother made the decision to have an open casket at the funeral of her son. This was a decision that forced the world to look upon the face of inequality, ignorance, and hate - a decision that ensured that America, and the rest of the world, would have no choice but to see the unpalatable truth.
In America, being Black was a crime. #USA