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ABC will air “Women of the Movement” next season, focusing on the life of Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till.
Emmett became a symbol of the civil rights movement after he was lynched in Mississippi in 1955.
Almost 66 years ago, Emmett, 14, was visiting relatives in Mississippi. During his visit, he and his cousins took a trip to the local store. A white woman named Carolyn Bryant claimed that Emmett whistled at her.
Her husband, Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law, J.W. Milam, kidnapped, tortured and brutally murdered him. After they killed him, they dumped his body in the Tallahatchie River.
At the funeral home, Mamie insisted she see Emmett’s face and body. The funeral director was reluctant as her son’s face had been beaten beyond recognition. Mississippi authorities also only agreed to send Till’s body on the condition that the casket stayed sealed. Mamie ordered an open-casket viewing.
“I think everybody needed to know what had happened to Emmett Till,” Till-Mobley said, according to PBS.
PBS noted, “At a church on the South Side of Chicago. Emmett Till’s mutilated body would be on display for all to see. Fifty thousand people in Chicago saw Emmett Till’s corpse with their own eyes. When the magazine Jet ran photos of the body, Black Americans across the country shuddered.”