Emmett Till Interpretive Center
A picture inside the courthouse
The outside of the courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi
This photo was taken in 1955 during the trial. While white citizens were able to sit in the shade of a nearby tree, African Americans sat around the Courthouse's Confederate monument
Backstory and Context
Fourteen-year-old Emmet Till was visiting family in Money, Mississippi when he was brutally murdered on August 28, 1955. His killers saw their actions as "retribution" for Till, an African American from Chicago who was accused of flirting with a white woman four days earlier. His assailants–the white woman’s husband and her brother–made Emmett carry a 75-pound cotton-gin fan to the bank of the Tallahatchie River and ordered him to take off his clothes. The two men then beat the boy nearly to death before gouging out his eyes and then shooting him in his head. The murderers then threw Till's body, still tied to the cotton-gin fan with barbed wire, into the river. Despite strong evidence, including those who heard the accused bragging about their crimes, the jury delivered a not-guilty verdict. Following the trial, both men publicly admitted that they had killed Till in a nationally-published article in Look Magazine.
Tyson, Timothy. The Blood of Emmett Till. New York. Simon & Schuster, 2017.
Mississippi Division of Archives & History