Thursday, April 3, 2008

Emmett Till

Part of our Civil Rights Movement unit covers the life, times, and significance of Emmett Till. In years past Till's story has impacted students in deep and profound ways since he was only 14 when brutally murdered in August 1955.

Keith Beauchamp's stunning documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Till is a great resource to learn about the topic, and therefore worthy to see and discuss. (Read about another important documentary here.)


Here's a poem about Till, a great web resource and labor of love devoted to Till, and here Cornel West weighs in. An author has created a Till blog, and here's an FBI report on Till. Finally, here's a story on Till and the use of images in history.

With what we've discussed in class about the Civil Rights Movement, and in light of viewing the Till documentary, simply leave your thougths and reflections about Till in the comments section. Why do you think Till is an important figure to study? In your opinin, what is his significance to the Civil Rights Movement?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think his importance in the civil rights movement is that he embodied/displayed the brutality of the mentality of the American society. He is a great figure to study because he depicted the sufferage of Afican Americans and helped motivate others to take up the cause as their own when otherwise they would not. In the documentry, the price for a simple whistle was torture then death. Emmett Till's deformed figure though, showed the world the problems of America, and gave a voice for the victims of unjust, racial crimes torwards the innocent.

Sarah
Period 1

Anonymous said...

It think that it is very important to study about Emmett Till because it gave people a visual of what was happening. Not only was this happening to the adults but to the young kids also who many times were punished for kidding around. I don't think Till meant anything by his whisteling to the lady but something as simple as that cost him his life. During the funeral those who saw the body saw how ruthless people were to African Americans. Like his mother said in the video "was it neccessary to shoot him". If they already tortured him enough, why shoot him? It forced America to fix the problem.

Martha De Leon

Anonymous said...

i think Marylin's poem to children was cool.. more people need to hear about his story to understand how severe and serious lynching was. i like the fact that her students stayed an hour longer to hear more about his story and what went on during that time period. i searched the picture of emmett after his beating and it was indescribable.. nothing like that should ever have happened and should never be repeated..

Anonymous said...

(above was JENNIFER GRAVES!)

Anonymous said...

I think it is very important for us to study Emmett Till. He is a great figure in our history to become familiar with. I thought the movie we watched gave a good example of how African Americans were treated during that time period.

Kirstyn

Nikolas said...

You know I think he was a key factor in all honesty. To most people today when they hear about riots, deaths, protests, and bloodshed most people just imagine figures and statistics. But with this case the Mrs. Till(bless her soul) fought back against the people who wanted her son's death to fade away as just another statistic. With her choice to use her son's brutal murder as a platform to speak out against the mindset of the people who felt justified or right to perform such cruelty against another human being. She was not a voice that was lost in the loud howling that is prejudice. Her voice was like a roar that cuts through the wind and her voice was heard by all the nation. And soon after her statements and her son's funeral many people listened and the gears on the train that leads to freedom finally began to move.

Anonymous said...

Emmett Till is an important figure to study because he was a symbol of the violence committed against blacks and the injustice that they had to endure. He was a symbol of this suffering and oppression and he was a focal point to expose the violence and injustice during the period. Many people would not have otherwise believed this kind of treatment was happening in the United States if they had never heard the Emmett Till story.

Kevin Smith

Anonymous said...

Emmett Till is an important figure to study because his death exposed the cruelty and severity of southern society to the world; he showed America's "ugly" racial problems. He was very prominent in the civil rights movement because his death stirred up animosity and anger against the racist south.

Nick Daniels

Anonymous said...

Emmett Till is an important figure to study in history because he is one of the extreme lynching victims; more so for teenagers as he was only a few years younger than we are now when he was murdered. Also, he is an important figure because it was due to the picture of his tortured, reeking body that many more people, not only in America but also worldwide, saw the brutality of the segregated South. His role in the Civil Rights Movement was to be a common cause for all mothers, of all races, and many people to prevent similar atrocities against youths in the future. He also provided for America's seeing its horrible racial issues right up in its face.
Also, the poem A Wreath for Emmett Till , by Farai Chideya further stresses the importance of Till's death towards mothers. The poem uses a striking and very straightforward tone that makes one sense loss.

- Jesse

Anonymous said...

I think it is important to study figures like Emmett Till because these people's lives show the ruthless animosity that swept through the South. Emmett Till's death sparked a great fire in the fact that his death motivated more blacks to stand up for themselves and plus his death sparked the world to react and make a difference. Emmett Till will never be forgotten because through his death, the world was able to see the brutality that inherited the South and overall accomplish something great!

Josh M.
Period 1

Anonymous said...

Emmit till is an important figure to stufy for many ways. Emmit's death shows the brutality of white people at this time and displays one of the most grotesque lynchings of a young boy in American History. He played a crucial roll in the civil rights movement. Because Emmit's funeral was open to everyone and his casket was open, hundreds of the people saw what had happened to him and realised the brutality in the segregated South which i believe made the civil rights movement stronger as a whole for his death was a prime example of why there needed to be change.

cooper Smith

Anonymous said...

it is important to study Emmett Till because it really helps us understand the level of racism and brutality that was directed toward black people. By publishing the shot of Emmett Till's broken and deformed body, his mother openned almost everyones eyes to exactly how brutal racism is and what its consequences are and would continue to be.

David Lim
period 4

Anonymous said...

I think that it is important to study Emmett Till because he is an example of how white people treated black people horribly. When his mom decided to show everyone the picture of his dead body it made people realize how racist people were.

Mary Martin
Period 4

Anonymous said...

Emmit Till gave the south a sort of wake up call. Throughout the oppression of the blacks in Amercia violent killings have taken place, but this incident gave that final push to the civil rights movement. This brutal yet interesting experience SHOWED how crupt segreation in the states truly was. The African Americans didn't have a government that protected them or give them any rights at all. Till was the a huge motiveation for change in America.

Kayla Adel
Period 4

Anonymous said...

I think Emmett Till is an important figure to study because his event was one of the motivators that accelerated the civil rights movement in US. his event also clearly reveals the explicit animosity between black and white.
jinxuan Chen

Anonymous said...

I think Emmett Till is an important figure in American history because he jump started the Civil Rights Movement. It is important for us to learn about Emmett Till because it gives us a better view on how poorly African Americans were treated and lets us realize that racial prejudices still exist.

Shannon
Period 1

Anonymous said...

I think it is very important that we take time and study Emmett Till because Emmett Till was a very important person in the civil rights movement. it is really sad to hear and watch this 14 year old boy get taken advantage of. It breaks my heart to watch what went on. The video in class shows how black people were treated back then. I think it is totally unfair the way the white people treated them. Emmett Till meant nothing by what he did and because of his little mistake and he paid the consequences. I respect his family a tremendous amount and am so sorry for what happend. I think due to Emmett Tills death it motivated many black people to stand up for what is right and not be afraid to take a stand. This story influenced me and i am sure it has influenced many others as well.

Kendall Shanklin

Anonymous said...

I think it is very important that we study Emmett Till and his story. It is a sad reality that his family and the whole country had to face. He is a great figure to study because he really showed the country how hard and bad the times were for African Americans. It seems unreal that Emmett was tortured for just whistling at a white women. It was a harsh reality and it is very sad to see the results!

Kendall Burgess
7th

Anonymous said...

I believe that Emmett Till's story is worthy of discussion because it amazes me that two older men would do that to a 14 year boy. This incident gave people a rude awakening to how awful racial prejudice was during that time. Especially because his mother decided to leave his casket open during his funeral for everyone to see and smell the stench of what was her son. I think that it is awesome that still after all these years people decided to continue the search for justice for Emmett and his family so that it could be laid to rest.

--Hayden Smith

Anonymous said...

He is a important figure to study because what was perpetrated against him was the epitome of evil. Till was brutalized for no other reason than his color. The horror of what he was subjected to signifies man's inhumanity to man. Through sheer ignorance generations treated African Americans in a horrendous way and the Civil Rights Movement caused Americans to examine motives that were engrained through habit.

Alaina Aday
period 2

Anonymous said...

He is important in the civil rights movement, but brutality happened everywhere, not just to him. We have to remember that there were a ton of lynchings and beatings. However, his funeral opened the eyes of everyone in the US to see what was going on.
Joe Tour