Emmett Till was the 14-year-old black teenager who was murdered for whistling at a white woman in 1955.


Sixty-one years ago, on August 28, 1955, Till was severely beaten, shot and thrown into a river in Mississippi, for allegedly whistling at a white woman. His murderers, Rob Bryant and J.W. Milam, were found not guilty at trial by an all-white jury after only an hour-and-seven minutes deliberation. The two men confessed to their crime a year later.

Till is one in a long line of murdered African-Americans whose killers walked free. Public outcries follow each one, yet somehow the country continues to forget. It is also nearly the 100 year anniversary of the lynching of Jesse Washington, a 17-year-old black man who was found guilty of murdering a white woman, though the authenticity of his confession has since been questioned. Washington was castrated, hung and held over a burning fire for two hours before he died in Waco, Texas.

More recently, Black Lives Matter have brought into focus to the killings of young black men. Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin who was shot down in 2012 wearing a hoodie while walking outside at night near his home. His killer, George Zimmerman, was also acquitted.

Following the killings of countless young black Americans, this 61-year anniversary of the death of Emmett Till is more important than ever. Will Smith and Jay-Z are slated to produce a miniseries about Till, but the project has yet to be completed.

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