… but I don’t take full responsible for my ignorance. As you, my blogger friends and followers know, I have very little patience for the intolerance in our world. My belief system stands firmly planted to the principles of social justice, civil rights and equality. So, why did I just recently learn about Emmett Till? I’m curious. Have you heard of him?
I am currently living in 1963. While working on my new manuscript, I am researching various aspects of life in the 1960’s. Presently titled Olvie and Chicken Coop, teenager Grace Cooper tries to befriend a “Negro” boy who’s visiting from Alabama, but can’t understand why he is so stand-offish. (Not the whole premise of the novel but I’ll tell you more about that another time.) But my particular story line was set when research introduced me to Emmett Till. (I must have missed Bob Dylan’s 1962 song, The Death of Emmett Till)
I know about the Woolworth sit-in, Rosa Parks and the bus, the Freedom Fighters, etc. I didn’t realize, but now know, that many African American’s moved from the south to Chicago to distance themselves from the John Crow laws — Chicago where they could walk with their heads held high.
I was shocked to learn that this fourteen-year-old boy, who travelled from Chicago to Mississippi in 1955 to visit relatives, never made it back home and the mortifying reasons why.
This boisterous, self-assured young man, didn’t know the “rules” of the south at the time. In some disputed way, either by words or by wolf-whistling at a married white woman, Emmett Till was hunted down by the man’s wife and his half-brother for flirting with a white woman. After being terribly brutalized, Emmett’s body was discovered in the river. The murders were acquitted and set free.
God Bless You, Emmett Till, a kid with only candy in his pockets.
And, ironically, just over a month ago, Emmett Till’s accuser admits she lied. Time to clear her conscience?
For more about Emmett read here.