Between 1882 and 1968, the NAACP documented 4,743 lynchings in the United States. All were abhorrent, but none was more socially and politically impactful than the lynching of Emmett Till.
Born in Chicago to parents who had moved north from the Mississippi Delta as part of the Great Migration, Till was 14 in 1955. That summer, he accompanied his uncle on a trip to visit his extended family in Money, Miss.
An encounter in a store one evening quickly spun out of control, stirring the local, self-appointed protectors of white supremacy to seize Till in the middle of the night, lynch him and throw his body into a local river.
Till’s grief-stricken mother, though horrified at the condition of her son’s body, insisted on a coffin that allowed mourners to see what racism did to her child.
The murder of Emmett Till, the events around his funeral and the legacy it created are explored by Loyola University historian, Elliot Gorn in his new book Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till.
Elliot Gorn was in Cincinnati last November for an event at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. While he was in town, he took time to talk about Emmett Till with Cincinnati Edition.
Tune in to Cincinnati Edition Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. to hear this segment.