How Should A 14 Year Old Girl Act Towards Parents Where Two Murderers of Emmett Till ‘Spent the Night’

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Where Two Murderers of Emmett Till ‘Spent the Night’

In August 1955, two of the men who brutally murdered young Chicagoan Emmett Till visited the Delta family home in nearby Rulesville shortly afterward.

Now a resident of Drew in Sunflower County less than five miles from the plantation where Till was killed, an old woman who wishes to remain anonymous recalls the summer night when she was seventeen when her parents let JW Milam and Roy Bryant into their house. . Bryant was related by marriage to her mother; they were both loud and nervous, she remembered.

Recently, Ms. “Brown” stopped to visit a black restaurant owner in Drew and told him she felt it was important to share her story with him and others in the black community.

“The time is finally right,” she told the restaurateur.

“My parents didn’t tell me what was going on at the time. JW had a full brother Bud and I’m sure he was with them too. I was in bed but I heard their voices.”[1]

Years later, her father confessed to Drew’s wife that Milam and Bryant had told him what they had done to Emmett Till.

“They knew the law was looking for them. They also said Carolyn Bryant was with them when they killed Emmett Till. I don’t know when Bud joined them. I think they caught up with him later. He was nicer than his brother and I don’t think killed someone—I hope not.’

When she awoke at dawn that morning, all three men had left her family home. “I never knew what happened to them after they left our house. I think they knew the law would catch up with them. And I think they felt safe because most of the cops covered them anyway. I didn’t.” I don’t know if they turned themselves in, let themselves be found, or if the sheriff picked them up and charged them.

“I still can’t believe how they put our family in such danger; there was so much confusion after Emmett Till was killed. People in Drew – black and white – threatened each other to kill their entire families. Some threatened to kill as many as ten members of another person’s family in retaliation .”[2]

Although her parents hid Emmett Till’s killers and never turned them in, Drew’s wife denies their involvement.

“I know my parents would never cover for them. Men came to our house and sat there all night. Later my parents told me what was going on. But I would never want anyone to think that our family helped them.” “

Mrs. Brown believes that “most of the white people in Drew and Ruleville felt the same way.”

“After the trial, the only support Milam and Bryant got came from the Klan because they were members. Most people wanted nothing to do with them, after all they killed a fourteen-year-old kid. Maybe they didn’t want to do it, but they killed him.”

On August 24, 1955, fourteen-year-old Till whistled at a white woman in a grocery store in Money, Mississippi, a small cotton town in the Delta. Emmett Till, a Chicago teenager, didn’t realize he had broken the unwritten laws of the Jim Crow South until three days later, when two white men dragged him out of bed in the dead of night, brutally beat him, and then shot him. him in his head.

Although Till’s killers were arrested and charged with murder, both were quickly acquitted by an all-white, all-male jury. Shortly thereafter, the defendants sold their story, including a detailed description of how they murdered Till, to reporters.

The murder and trial horrified the nation and the world, and Till’s death was the spark that helped mobilize the civil rights movement. Three months after his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, a Montgomery bus boycott began after Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of a city bus. Parks later told the young man’s mother how she was affected by Till’s murder to take a personal stand.

The failure of the federal government to get involved in the Till case led blacks and whites to realize that if change was to come, they would have to do it themselves. Some historians describe the murder of young Emmett Till as the real spark that ignited widespread support for the movement.

—–

[1] A story that appeared in the September 3, 1955, Jackson Advocate indicated that three white men were actually involved in the kidnapping, marking “the first indication that more individuals were involved in the kidnapping than Milam or Bryant admitted,” according to Christopher Metress, to the editor of a comprehensive book on the Emmett Till incident.

[

2] March 4, 2005 interview by Susan Klopfer with a Sunflower County resident who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation. “Just a few years ago, our minister and his family were threatened when the minister tried to talk about church integration. They were almost run out of town.” Bud was probably with the group as she suggested. Version of Dr. Howard’s account of the kidnapping and murder appeared in a small pamphlet in February 1956, Time Bomb: Mississippi Exposed and the Full Story of Emmett Till. The author was Olive Arnold Adams, wife of Julius J. Adams, publisher of the New York Age, but Howard was her primary source. He also wrote ahead.” In addition to the Time Bomb, a number of articles appeared in the California Eagle, a black newspaper in Los Angeles. “The author was a mysterious white Southern reporter who wrote under the pseudonym Amos Dixon. Dixon presented essentially the same thesis as Time Bomb, but offered a more detailed account of the possible roles of Loggins, Hubbard, and Collins. He also claimed that another of Milam and Bryant’s brothers, Leslie Milam (now dead), participated in the crime,” wrote David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito (“Why the Emmett Murder Mystery Is Unlikely to Ever Be Solved,” History News Network, 26/04/2004).

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