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Emmett Louis "bobo" Till

Essay by   •  March 10, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,539 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,546 Views

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Born July 25, 1941 Emmett Louis "Bobo" Till was born much like Mary of Nazarene his mother had no idea what an impact this precious baby boy would have. Emmett grew up without his father, Louis Till who died while fighting in World War II. At the tender age of five years old Emmett was diagnosed with Polio as a result Emmett was left with a slight stutter. In spite of his illness Emmett grew up a happy child. He loved to tell jokes and often times paid people just to make him laugh. Emmett and his mother were very close and he once told her as long as she could bring home the bacon and provide he could take care of the house. The Till's lived in a middle class neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. In their neighborhood they were surrounded by black-owned businesses for Emmett this was very inspirational and motivating. There was everything from black-owned and operated insurance companies to, black beauty salons, and pharmacists.

The summer 1955 Emmett "Bobo" Till pleaded with his mother to allow him to visit his relatives down in Money, Mississippi. Emmett's great uncle Moses Wright came up from Mississippi to visit his family. On his way back, Uncle Moses was taking Emmett's cousin Wheeler back with him in order to spend time with his relatives. Ordinarily allowing children to visit relatives would be an opportunity not only for the child to bond with their extended family but it also provided a chance for the parent to get a break, but not in this case. Emmett and his mother Mamie lived up North in Chicago and in the '50's things were very different for African Americans in the North than in the South. Before Mamie Till allowed her fourteen year old son to board the bus she gave her son a signet ring that belonged to his father, and looked him square in the eye and told him to "be careful. If you have to get down on your knees and bow when a white person goes past, do it willingly."

Emmett his cousin Wheeler and his great-uncle Moses arrived in Money, Mississippi on August 21st, 1955. While there the boys did normal boy things talk about girls, camped outdoors and fished. On the morning of August 28th, 1955, Emmett and his cousins drove his uncle's car into town and stopped at Bryant's Grocery store to buy candy. Before entering the store Till, who was used to interacting with white people showed some pictures of his white friends back home to some of the local boys outside the store. Once they saw the pictures the boys then dared Emmett to go and strike up a conversation with the woman inside, who just happened to be the owner's wife, Carolyn Bryant. While in the store Emmett allegedly flirted and wolf whistled at the store owner's wife. To modern day society this may not be a big deal but down south in the '50's this was considered a punishable crime. After the boys left the store they decided against telling their uncle to avoid getting into any trouble. Four days later at about 2:30 a.m. Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam, showed up at the Wright family's house with pistol in hand. When they bust into the door they made it extremely clear by saying "were looking for the boy that did that talking". Moses Wright pleaded with the two men screaming that "he is only 14, he's from up North" implying that he did not know better, but the two men ignored his desperate plea. As they escorted young Till out of the house and to Milam's truck one of the two men ask one of the passenger's in the truck "is this the right one"? The person responded yes and the truck drove off. That night

Both Moses and Elizabeth Wright immediately contacted Mamie Till back in Chicago and informed her of her son's disappearance. The local sheriff and their family tried to look for him in the most palpable places. In other words they looked in places that black people were usually left such as along riverbanks and under bridges. Sure enough three days later young Emmett was found in the Tallahatchie River with a seventy-five pound cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbwire. His right eye was missing his nose was broken and he had a hold on the side of his head. The only recognizable feature on Till was the ring his mother had given him shortly before he boarded the bus to Money. Despite the attempts of the Mississippi sheriff's department Mamie Till was able to return Emmett's mangled body back to Chicago where she ordered his body to be on display for five days with the intent of exposing what had happened to her only son. During those five days over six hundred thousand people were able to view his body.

When dealing with story of Emmett Till and the case that followed there were numerous factors that involved leadership lessons. One important lesson I took from this story is that every good leaders will faced with the temptation of peer pressure and it is then that you have to



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