White Privelege As Explained in Alternative Facts

Emmett Louis Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was a 14-year-old African-American who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after offending a white woman in a grocery store. The brutality of his murder and the fact that his killers were acquitted drew attention to the long history of violent persecution of African Americans in the United States. Till posthumously became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement.

Till was born and raised in Chicago and in August 1955, was visiting relatives near Money, in the Mississippi Deltaregion. He spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the white married proprietor of a small grocery store there. Although what happened at the store is a matter of dispute, Till was accused of flirting with or whistling at Bryant. Years later, Bryant disclosed that, in 1955, she had fabricated testimony that Till made verbal or physical advances towards her in the store.[1][2] Till's reported behavior, perhaps unwittingly, violated the strictures of conduct for an African American male interacting with a white woman in the Jim Crow-era South.[3]Several nights after the store incident, Bryant's husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam went armed to Till's great-uncle's house and abducted the boy. They took him away and beat and mutilated him before shooting him in the head and sinking his body in theTallahatchie River. Three days later, Till's body was discovered and retrieved from the river.

Till's body was returned to Chicago. His mother, who had mostly raised him, insisted on a public funeral service with an open casket to show the world the brutality of the killing. "The open-coffin funeral held by Mamie Till Bradley exposed the world to more than her son Emmett Till's bloated, mutilated body. Her decision focused attention not only on American racism and the barbarism of lynching but also on the limitations and vulnerabilities of American democracy".[4] Tens of thousands attended his funeral or viewed his open casket, and images of his mutilated body were published in black-oriented magazines and newspapers, rallying popular black support and white sympathy across the U.S. Intense scrutiny was brought to bear on the lack of black civil rights in Mississippi, with newspapers around America critical of the state. Although initially local newspapers and law enforcement officials decried the violence against Till and called for justice, they responded to national criticism by defending Mississippians, temporarily giving support to the killers.

In September 1955, Bryant and Milam were acquitted by an all-white jury of Till's kidnapping and murder. Protected against double jeopardy, the two men publicly admitted in a 1956 interview with Look magazine that they had killed Till. In 2004 the case was officially reopened by the United States Department of Justice. The defense team in the 1955 trial had questioned whether the body was that of Till. In 2004, Till's body was exhumed and positively identified. Till's original casket was then donated to the Smithsonian Institution and it is displayed in theNational Museum of African American History and Culture. After Milam and Bryant were acquitted, they initially remained in Mississippi, but were boycotted, threatened, attacked and humiliated by local residents. Milam died in 1980 at the age of 61, and Bryant died in 1994 at the age of 63. Bryant expressed no remorse for his crime and stated: "Emmett Till is dead. I don't know why he just can't stay dead."[5]

The trial of Bryant and Milam received extensive press coverage. Till's murder was seen as a catalyst for the next phase of the Civil Rights Movement. In December 1955, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began in Alabama and lasted more than a year, gaining a US Supreme Court ruling that segregated buses were unconstitutional.

According to historians, events surrounding Emmett Till's life and death continue to resonate. Some writers have suggested that almost every story about Mississippi returns to Till, or the Deltaregion in which he died, in "some spiritual, homing way."[6] An Emmett Till Memorial Commission was established in the early 21st century. The Sumner County Courthouse was restored and includes the Emmett Till Interpretive Center. The Emmett Till Memory Project is a website and smartphone app commemorating his life; fifty-one sites in the Mississippi Delta are associated with Till.


I was born on the 18th of August, 1946, in San Antonio, Texas, where my mother was born and always referred to as "home".

Six months later, we moved to New Haven, Connecticut, the birth place and hometown of my father.

In 1955, the year Emmett Till was murdered, I was 9 years old.

I grew up in Connecticut because my mother didn't want this kind of shit to happen to me.

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Comment by Terry McKenna on July 31, 2017 at 3:47am

As much as racism exists up north as well as down south, I can attest that when we went to the YMCA for swimming lessons, we were in the pool with black kids.  Same with when I attended art classes from 1963-1969 in Newark.  The kids were black and white, as were the teachers. It was hardly perfect and for black kids, hardly ideal, but at least the structure allowed for normal interactions.  And with my schoolmates, many of the white kids were only a generation from Europe (example - my mother was born here, but her sisters were born in Europe) so they brought a different set of prejudices.   They may have thought little of blacks, but the Poles (Polish Catholics) thought ill of Russian, Jews and Germans; Italians thought little of the Irish.  The Irish though little of the English protestants and the italians.  So prejudices were far less focused. 

Comment by Ron Powell on July 31, 2017 at 7:05am

"The 1967 Newark riots were a major civil disturbance that occurred in the city of Newark, New Jersey between July 12 and July 17, 1967. The four days of rioting, looting, and destruction left 26 dead and hundreds injured."


Where were you when this was taking place?

This paints a completely different picture and tells an entirely different story.


Comment by Terry McKenna on July 31, 2017 at 7:09am

On the Saturday of the riots, my Aunt and sister were taken to Newark Penn Station to begin a trip to PA via  train.  My father knew Newark well.  He drove them to the station and came home without any concern.

Comment by Terry McKenna on July 31, 2017 at 7:17am

The "facts" in the wiki article don't give the sense of a Newark that had pulses of riots in one area only and with quiet morning where people could shop at Bambergers etc. 

Comment by Ron Powell on July 31, 2017 at 7:17am

I don't understand how you and your family could miss this.

And, , go about your business without any concern.

Comment by Terry McKenna on July 31, 2017 at 7:28am

Sorry - yes it was scary.  But this is pure hype.  My father worked on Springfield Ave a few miles away.  He knew and we knew exactly where the riots were.  And yes, the "negros" had every right to be angry.  But if you drove down Bloomfield Ave or along McCarter Highway or even at the border at Central Ave - or stood at Sacred Heart Cathedral, you might realize something terrible was going on.  But it did not feel at all like the new clip.  Arts High which was on High St was not harmed, nor was St Benedicts Prep, nor St Michael's hospital.  Nor was the Prudential or Mutual Benefit Life (not the phone company) none of whom closed. 

Comment by Terry McKenna on July 31, 2017 at 7:33am

The lesson remains the same whether delivered via exaggerated narratives or more nuanced tales.  By the way, my wife and I worked in NYC during the son of sam.  she took some precautions, but since these were night time events, she was not crazy.  the news does make the facts sexier.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on July 31, 2017 at 7:35am

Me thinks that nowadays the people of Newark wouldn't be facing bayonets, but armored police tanks with machine guns mounted on top.  Either that or no one would even notice about a solitary black man being beaten by the police AGAIN.

Comment by Ron Powell on July 31, 2017 at 8:17am

@TM;  During the Civil War, there were people who would come out and sit on the hillsides to watch the battles as they occured as though the whole thing was some kind of entertainmrnt.

You talk of living a few moles away and "border" streets and avenues...

I'll bet you didn't dare venture into the Newark ghettos, the 100% black neighborhoods, where the actual rioting was taking place...

Hell, as a stranger to the location, I wouldn't have gone into the midst of the rioting myself.

You can't "hype" reality...

There were people who thought that the reports of the death of Emmett Till was a bunch of "hype"..

Comment by Terry McKenna on July 31, 2017 at 8:28am

you are mis understanding.  i did not say that the riot was hype.  but the newsreel was.  surely you can tell the difference. 

and trust me, we did drive up Springfield Ave - but not during the riots.  there are paint suppliers and hardware stores and all the rest.  sure you can "hype" a real event.  


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