Emmett Till

Songs & Stories From Home Episode 37


Let justice roll down like water, righteousness like a mighty stream for our grandsons and granddaughters, remember to remember the dream

Welcome to Songs and Stories from Home as we continue to share and remember the dream.

In the news today is yet another murder of a young unarmed black man; killed by two white men who until visual evidence of the crime proved otherwise were questioned and then set free.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s became part of the American consciousness 65 years ago when a 14-year-old boy, Emmett Till, was kidnapped, tortured, and killed by two white men. Two white men found not guilty by a jury of their peers, in this case other white men. The two white men who would later sell the story of their murdering ways to LOOK magazine for $3600. 

We remember Emmett Till largely because, when what was left of him was returned to his mother in a sealed box that she was advised to leave unopened, she looked and forced us all to see. Images published first by Jet Magazine and later by Time magazine, considered now among the most influential images in this country’s history. 

The story of the Civil Rights Movement, a story that belongs to all Americans, is one of the most important in American history. The Presidents at the time chose to be on the side of the Declaration of Independence and the idea that though we are not the same - we all are created equal.  Important because the Congress chose to act in that same spirit, passing the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The Supreme Court as well  with rulings like Brown vs Board of Education helped make the words in the Declaration of Independence the law of the land.   

65 years after Emmett Till’s murder it’s as if we are still struggling to decide who we are as a nation.