February 22, 2017

The Blood of Emmett Till

"This 14-year-old's crucifixion is going to strengthen and clarify the cause of de-segregation, human brotherhood, and freedom." ~ pg. 66

Allow me to tell you a real life story. On the evening of August 24, 1955, six boys and one girl drove to the store in a 1941 Ford. One of the boys was Emmett Till, a 14-year-old from Chicago visiting his family in Mississippi. They stopped at a store for candy and drinks. Emmett was inside the store alone with Carolyn Bryant, the white woman working the cash register, for less than a minute. What happened in that short amount of time, no one really knows. But whatever Emmett Till did verbally offended Carolyn Bryant enough that she went to the car for a gun. Emmett said goodbye and the kids left the store.

One thing is for sure: whatever happened in that store between Emmett Till and Carolyn Bryant did not warrant the injustice that followed. In the middle of the night, white men kidnapped Emmett Till from his bed. His mother was notified in Chicago. On the third day, his body was found.

Yes, white men in Mississippi lynched a 14-year-old boy from Chicago named Emmett Till. The protest of Emmett Till's murder became the foundation of the civil rights movement. Rosa Parks had enough; she refused to move to the back of the bus only weeks later. The Blood of Emmett Till goes over the incident, what happened immediately after, the trial and verdict, and the politics behind this part of history. It contains new evidence including the only interview ever given by Carolyn Bryant Donham, the woman behind Till's kidnapping and lynching. This is the narrative of one of the most notorious hate crimes in history.

"Every last anglo-saxon one of you." ~ pg. 160

It is an understatement to say this nonfiction book is a difficult read. I was getting angry and angrier by the page. Of the lies we now know were told. Of the description of Emmett Till's body when found. Of the grief his mother must have felt for years to come. I spent most of President's Day (how appropriate, huh?) determined to finish. Not because I knew the outcome but because there was only so much more I could stomach reading. Admittedly, I had to skim a couple chapters. It was just...beyond difficult to read.

Timothy B. Tyson researched this tragedy to deliver an insightful, detailed and revealing account of a black boy lynched six decades ago. And here we are, in 2017, still fighting for justice.

Title: The Blood of Emmett Till
Author: Timothy B. Tyson
Published: January 2017
Pages: 291
Edition: Hardcover
Challenge: Popsugar—A Book About a Difficult Topic
Rating: ♥♥♥

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