In 1955, Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago, was murdered after whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. Though court proceedings took place, no one was convicted of the crime. However, the U.S. Department of Justice recently reopened the decades-old cold case after the woman involved admitted she hadn’t told the truth.
On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, an archived conversation with Till’s cousin, Simeon Wright, aired in light of the restored investigation. Wright, who witnessed the incident, kidnapping and trial, died in September 2017.
Host Don Marsh also spoke with the executive director of Cultural Leadership, Holly Ingraham, and two students, Amadi MuseMorris and Lizzy Mills, about how they decided to honor Till’s legacy after encountering a vandalized historic marker on their annual cross-country trip last year.
“It kind of felt like someone was physically trying to cover up the history that happened there,” Mills said about the marker outside the grocery store in Money, Mississippi, where the incident took place.
“We all started taking out pieces of paper from our notebooks, and some of us wrote pieces of history about Emmett Till and his murder, as well as the case and the verdict,” Mills explained. “And some of us wrote inspiring notes about Till and how he became a symbol for the civil rights movement.”
Together, the 24 students on the trip taped their make-shift messages over the vandalism.
“I wrote and wish that [Till’s] family seeks justice and receives justice for what happened to him, and that he’s been so inspirational to not only the civil rights movement itself, but also young people today,” MuseMorris reflected.
Listen to the full conversation:
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer, Evie Hemphill and Caitlin Lally give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.