Emmett Till

Topics: Southern United States, Martin Luther King, Jr., Social movement Pages: 2 (515 words) Published: February 22, 2015
Gerardo Mendoza
Mrs. Romero-Bettridge
American Government P-4
Emmett Till Essay

The historical plight of black Americans presents a classic example of what happens when a group becomes defined as weaker and less intelligent and overall, less valued. As time passes, those prejudices become long-lasting behavior patterns carrying over from one generation to the next. That’s why whites in the south enforced and defended segregation. They became highly resistant to challenge by social movements and even new laws banning discrimination against the minority. Jury selection began on September 19 and finding twelve unbiased jurors would not be an easy task. In 1955, none of the black residents of Tallahatchie County were registered voters and thus, under the jury selection rules then in place, no black was eligible to serve as a juror. During the six hours of jury selection, the county's sheriff-elect assisted the defense team, advising the lawyers as to which jurors were "doubtful" and which were "safe." All of the twelve white men seated for the jury seemed safe. One of the defense attorneys said later, "After the jury was chosen, any first-year law student could have won the case." Till’s body was found swollen with water and badly damaged in the Tallahatchie River. He had been shot, with evidence of a severe beating on his skin. A local Mississippi newspaper speculated that the body found was not Till because it couldn’t be identified, even though Rev. Wright identified the body and retrieved a ring that Emmett wore. Emmett’s murder was shocking because he was a child from Chicago. He was mutilated by men and thought nothing was supposed to happen. At Till's public funeral in Chicago, and in images appearing across the nation, thousands saw Till's severely mutilated body, drawing attention to the problem of lynching and new support for protection of civil rights for blacks in the Deep South. Bryant and Milam were tried for the murder of till in late...
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