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Emmett Till

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Till was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. During summer vacation in August 1955, he was visiting relatives near Money, in the Mississippi Delta region. He spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the white married proprietor of a small grocery store there. Although what happened at the store is a matter of dispute, Till was accused of flirting with or whistling at Bryant. In 1955, Bryant had testified that Till made physical and verbal advances. The jury did not hear Bryant's testimony, due to the judge ruling it inadmissible. Decades later, Bryant disclosed that she had fabricated part of the testimony regarding her interaction with Till, specifically the portion where she accused Till of grabbing her waist and uttering obscenities; "that part's not true," Bryant stated in a 2008 interview with historian Timothy Tyson. Till's interaction with Bryant, perhaps unwittingly, violated the strictures of conduct for an African-American male interacting with a white woman in the Jim Crow-era South. Several nights after the incident in the store, Bryant's husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam were armed when they went to Till's great-uncle's house and abducted the boy. They took him away and beat and mutilated him before shooting him in the head and sinking his body in the Tallahatchie River. Three days later, Till's body was discovered and retrieved from the river.



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