On the anniversary of Emmett Till’s murder, misconceptions still cloud what happened in his last days, his cousin says.
When a 14-year-old African American boy named Emmett Till whistled at a white woman outside her shop in 1955, his cousin remembers being terrified. “That scared us half to death,” he said. “Whistling at a white woman in Mississippi? It’s better to play with a rattlesnake.” Later that week, Till was kidnapped and brutally murdered. In this excerpt from a special episode of America Tonight, Joie Chen travels to the Mississippi Delta to meet Wright, who takes us back to the grocery store where a whistle led to an execution.
File photos of Savage Child Killers John W. Milam, 35, left, his half-brother Roy Bryant, 24 , centre, who go on trial in Sumner, Miss., Sept. 18, 1955, are charged with the murder of 14-year-old African American Emmett L.Till from Chicago, who is alleged to have “wolf-whistled” and made advances at Bryant’s wife Carolyn, seen right. (AP Photo)
Mamie Bradley, mother of 14-year-old Emmett Till who was bludgeoned to death because he whistled at a white woman in Mississippi, weeps as his casket arrives at the Illinois Central Station on September 2. Mrs. Bradley demanded the pine box be opened. Let the people come and see what they did to my boy. (Photo by Dave Mann.) Right: Mrs. Bradley views the open casket at his funeral September 6. (Photo by Ralph Walters.)
Savage child killer with his enabling wife and children