Postwar America: 1945 - 1960
|Digital History ID 3422|
On August 28, 1955, Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American youth who was on a summer vacation from his home on Chicago’s South Side, was kidnapped by two white men from his uncle's home in LeFlore County, Mississippi. Four days later, Till's badly beaten body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River. A 75-pound cotton gin fan was attached with barbed wire to his neck.
Till had allegedly entered a grocery store, bought some bubble gum, and whistled at a white woman who worked there. The woman's husband and his half-brother kidnapped and killed Till. As one put it: "I just decided it was time a few people got put on notice." An all-white jury acquitted the two men in an hour and seven minutes. One juror commented: "If we hadn't stopped to drink a pop, it wouldn't have taken that long."