The Disturbing Connection Between Emmett Till’s Murder And His Father's Execution

Louis Till was convicted of murdering an Italian woman and sentenced to death by hanging in 1945.  

Emmett Louis Till would have celebrated his 75th birthday on Monday (July 25). At just 14 years old, Emmett was savagely beaten, mutilated, shot and thrown in the Tallahatchie River, for allegedly whistling at a white woman while visiting cousins down south in 1955.

The teen's murder is one of the more-widely known tragic examples of the racism endured by blacks in the Jim Crow era, and his father's experience also holds historic weight in the treatment of black soldiers in the U.S. Army.

Emmett was born in Chicago on July 25, 1941, the only child of 18-year-old Louis Till and Mamie Carthan-Till. The married couple’s relationship was reportedly volatile with Mamie discovering Louis was unfaithful. She separated from him in 1942 and later obtained a restraining order after he chocked her to the point of unconsciousness (she fought back by throwing hot water on him).

Louis violated the restraining order and was subsequently given the choice of jail or the army. He enlisted in 1943, but would be dead within two years.

In 1945, Louis was arrested by military police on suspicions of the murder an Italian woman and rape of two others. He was investigated, convicted, and sentenced to death by hanging. Louis was executed on July 2, 1945, about a month shy of Emmett's fourth birthday.

The U.S. Army blocked Mrs. Till from learning the details of Louis' case, telling her he died because of “willful misconduct.”  She wouldn't get the rest of  the story for another decade, and around that time, she would endure another fight, this time with authorities to have Emmett's body returned to Chicago.

Before Louis, the first military example of judicial miscarriage involving a black soldier, is said to be that of James C. Whitaker, a former slave and one of the first black men to serve at West Point. In 1880, Whitaker was found unconscious in his room, tied to his bed, gagged and bloodied, with his ears slashed. Given that black soldiers were seen as being less than their white counterparts,  Whitaker's claims of three white men attacking him were ignored.

An internal investigation concluded that he attacked himself (and tied himself up) as a ploy to get discharged. Whitaker was given a court martial, convicted, and  dismissed from the U.S. Army.

The circumstances surrounding Louis’ prosecution and death sentence is connected to the swift miscarriage of justice for black soldiers. As reported by the Chicago Tribune  in 2005, Louis is buried in France in a “small plot of land outside the official grounds of the Oise-Aisne World War I American cemetery.” His is one of 80 graves of black soldiers tried, convicted, executed and silenced forever.

The Tribune report also sites that black soldiers accounted for 83 percent of those executed in Europe, North Africa, and Mediterranean Theaters of Operations, despite making up less than 10 percent of soldiers serving in the Army.

The disproportionate and discriminatory practices led to an attempted reform of the military judicial process.

Meanwhile, the execution of Louis played into a negative narrative of fatherless black male victims who are never actually allowed to be victims. After Life magazine wrote and retracted a story stating that Louis died fighting for his country, others penned editorials accusing Emmett of being a serial rapist (because of his father's conviction), and therefore deserving of the murder.

Like his father, Emmett's fate in a racist Jim-Crow era was an ending chosen for him -- but not by the Army, by white men in Mississippi. In fact, Emmett was found wearing a ring given to him by his father.

But perhaps the most tragic section in the Till family story is that of his mother, a woman who not only forced into being a single parent after Louis was executed, but lost her son 10 years later.

Mamie, who died at age 81 in 2003, famously refused to have a closed casket at Emmett’s funeral, so that the world could see what had been done to her boy. It is a memory that will forever be a part of America's stained racial history.


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It’s going to be a “legendary” 2020 for Dreamville fans. J. Cole’s second annual Dreamville Festival will return to Raleigh, North Carolina next year, the Grammy-nominated rapper announced on Twitter on Tuesday (Dec. 10).

The 2020 Dreamville Festival goes down on April 4, at Dix Park. The lineup, which features Dreamville artists and more, will be revealed at a later date.

Last year’s Dreamville Festival welcomed 40,000 people, according to The News & Observer. Performers included Ari Lennox, Bas, Earth Gang, SZA, Big Sean, Rapsody, Young Thug, 21 Savage, and 6LACK.

The Dreamville Festival will benefit Cole’s Dreamville Foundation and Dix Park Conservancy. Tickets go on sale Wednesday (Dec. 11) at 12 p.m. EST via dreamville.com.

Besides the festival announcement, Cole celebrated the fifth anniversary of his Forrest Hills Drive album on Monday (Dec. 9). “A day late but. Forest Hills Drive just turnt [sic] 5 years old,” he tweeted. “I feel big big gratitude for the year spent making it and for all the love shown to it. S**t crazy thank you God.”


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Joyner Lucas Blames Juice WRLD’s Death On Rappers Who Glorify Drug Use

Joyner Lucas blames Juice WRLD’s death on fellow rappers who glorify drug use. Lucas tweeted his thoughts about Juice WRLD's passing on Monday (Dec. 9) writing in part, “He was a product of our generation of rappers who glorified drugs and made it cool.”

Lucas added, “[I’m] blaming [ya’ll] n**gaz for this s**t. All that lean and pills n**gaz glorify and talk about. You teaching the kids to do it. Smh you happy now? RIP @JuiceWorlddd. Gone too soon.”

Juice wrld was 21. He was a product of our generation of rappers who glorified drugs and made it cool. Im blaming Yal niggaz for this shit. 🤦🏽‍♂️ all that lean and pills niggaz glorify and talk about. You teaching the kids to do it. Smh you happy now?Rip @JuiceWorlddd. Gone too soon

— Joyner Lucas (@JoynerLucas) December 9, 2019

Lucas also shared a Juice WRLD interview where the Chicago native shares how Future’s music inspired him to start using drugs at 12 years old.

Rip young legend... To my generation, we gotta be accountable for the shit we glorify. Difference between juice & other niggaz is juice wasn’t proud of it. he talked about being ashamed of using. That’s art. I’m not mad at it. I’m mad hip hop for steering him in that direction. pic.twitter.com/MzYCAsCg7a

— Joyner Lucas (@JoynerLucas) December 10, 2019

Juice WRLD, whose birth name was Jarad Anthony Higgins, suffered a seizure upon at Chicago’s Midway airport last Sunday (Dec. 8.). The “Lucid Dreams” rhymer was headed back home to Chicago after working over the Thanksgiving holiday, and celebrating one of the “best birthdays” ever last week.

Although an initial autopsy on the rapper’s body came back inconclusive, Juice WRLD reportedly swallowed several prescription pills as federal agents were confiscating drugs and weapons from the suitcases on the private plane that he was on, along with his entourage and girlfriend. According to the Chicago Tribune, Juice WRLD began convulsing and went into cardiac arrest at the airport. His girlfriend told authorities that he had a “drug problem” and had taken the painkiller Percocet. He was given a Narcam shot, which is administered in the case of an overdose, but pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Authorities found dozens of vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana, six bottles of prescription codeine cough syrup, two 9 mm pistols, a .40-caliber pistol, and ammunition in the bags on the plane. Two of Juice WRLD’s bodyguards were arrested at the scene for misdemeanor weapons and drug possession.

Juice WRLD was open about his battle with addiction to prescription pills and codeine, both in his music and beyond. Over the summer, he promised to get help for his drug habit in a tweet to his girlfriend. In addition to battling his sobriety, the recording artist was mourning the loss of his father who died earlier in the year.

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The 35-year-old actress created the emotional piece, which is described as a “creative vision Lauren wanted to bring to life to signify the continuation of her marathon alongside PUMA.”

Set around the streets of Los Angeles, London narrates the visual with a poem by Samantha Smith. “We are flowing, we are growing, we are open like the red sea,” reads one passage of the poem. “We walk through with confident uncertainty. We kneel here. We heal here. We open our hearts to the heavens. We use our tears to cleanse our canvas. The fear floods us, the love is electric.”

“Pain is the light,” the poem continues. “Pain is insight. The body hurts, but the spirit grows. The flesh is starving, while wisdom overflows. I got a question only Lord knows: does life break us twice?”

The campaign was directed by Danny Williams (Top Shelf Junior), edited by Matt Tolkin and produced by AJR Films. The musical score comes courtesy of Rance of 1500 or Nothin.'

PUMA previously collaborated with Hussle on capsule collection that was posthumously released in September. The collection sold out within 24 hours.

Watch London’s “Forever Stronger” campaign below.

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