CHICAGO, Ill.–The murder of Emmett Till in the Mississippi Delta 60 years ago this week may be what set off the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s, that eventually led to the destruction of official segregation in the South. Celebrations of the life of Till and the legacy of the event will be held in Chicago, where Till was from, and in Mississippi.
Till was 14 when he was murdered for wolf-whistling at a white woman in Money, a small town north of Greenwood. He was beaten, shot and possibly stabbed with a screwdriver before his body was dumped in the Tallahatchie River near Glendora, with a cotton gin fan strapped to his neck.
When his body was found it was swollen and one eye was popped out. The brutality of the crime drew national attention when Till’s mother, who had sent her son to visit his Mississippi cousins and had warned him about the attitudes of many white people in the segregated South, had her son put in a glass-topped coffin and allowed photos of his mutilated body to be published.
The two white men arrested were acquitted by an all-white jury in Sumner, but later told their story to a national magazine for money.
In Chicago, Till’s family will be at the Burr Oak Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony at noon Friday.
Some members of the family will also be in Mississippi Friday night in Ridgeland at the Mediterranean Bar and Cafe, 6550 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, at 10 p.m.
Earlier in the evening, there will be a prayer service at Jackson State at 7:45 p.m.
An Emmett Till parade will start at Freedom Corner in Jackson at 9:30 Saturday morning.
Saturday a Delta bus and walking tour starts at noon.
If you’d like to find out how to participate in some of the events commemorating Mississippi’s Civil Rights heritage, call 601-826-9975