Emmett Till's Death In American Civil Rights

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The Murder of Emmett Till “What else could I do, he thought he was as good as any white man.” This quote by J.W. Milan, one of Emmett Till’s killers, shows how deeply ingrained racism was in the 1960’s. Emmett Till was brutally murdered at only fourteen. His heinous crime that justifies being murdered is flirting with a white woman. Emmett Till’s murder was the spark that set of the roaring fire of the civil rights movement, in the south. Emmett Till’s death was not the first step to equality, and it had an impact on the civil rights movement and motivated many later civil rights movement activists. The civil rights movement wasn’t just one person, it took hundreds of leaders and decades to help society understand the changes that needed…show more content…
Life in the North and the South was completely different in the 1960 's. Emmett Till grew up in the North. When he was growing up the North had segregated schools, but life for blacks living there was a lot better than in the South. Growing up in the North had an impact on Emmett Till’s view on life. “The life of a Negro in Mississippi is not worth a whistle.” In the South marriage between a black person and a white person was not only looked down upon but it was illegal. This is why when Roy, the husband of Caroline, heard from his wife that she had been whistled at he was outraged. Racism in the South was so strong that a black man could be murdered for whistling. Emmett living in the North gave him a whole different outlook on racism. The Jim Crow laws in the South made marriage between different races illegal, but in the North interracial relationships were much more accepted. Emmett was alive at a time where the civil rights movement had started before he was born, but had not come to a conclusion. The civil rights movement divided the North and South even more with the level of equality for blacks. A quote from history.com shows this, “Emmett bragged that his girlfriend back home was white. Emmett’s African-American companions, disbelieving him, dared Emmett to ask the white woman sitting behind the store counter for a date.” Emmett’s cousins said that their families prepared them to go to the South. In the North it was a lot safer to be black, but even though it…show more content…
Emmett’s murder was not the most violent or the only one, but it did begin the civil rights movement in the South. The newspaper article containing quotes from Emmett’s killers admitting their guilt and pictures from the open casket funeral outraged African Americans in the South. In an interview with Pbs Emmett’s mother says, “When people saw what happened to my son men stood up who had never stood up before.” Emmett became a symbol of the civil rights movement in the South. His death was the motivation many people needed to stand up and fight for equal rights. “100 days after Emmett’s death, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man.” Rosa Parks remember Emmett’s death on the day she refused to give up her seat and when she thought of him she could not live another day just going along and not fighting to be given the rights that were hers. Emmett became a symbol not only to Rosa Parks but to all blacks living in the
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