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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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D'Angelo And Maxwell Were Originally Scheduled For A 'Verzuz' Battle

It's no secret. Swizz Beatz and Timbaland have been working hard to pair up some of hip-hop and R&B's biggest stars for their Verzuz celebratory battles. To date, the duo has successfully hosted 24 of these events on Instagram Live and their streaming partner, Apple Music. Now, what you rarely hear about are the matches that could have been. In a live conversation following D'Angelo's damn-near-solo set—that many R&B lovers didn't know they needed—Swizz Beatz and Timbaland revealed how the soulful crooner was originally scheduled to take part in Verzuz alongside fellow "neo-soul" singer Maxwell.

"I'm not gonna lie. That sh*t took very long. Let's give people the story," starts Swizz. "What was supposed to happen was D'Angelo versus Maxwell on Valentine's Day. That didn't work out, but the fact that D'Angelo was still ready to go and still motivated, we had to celebrate him— matter who was on stage with him. We had to celebrate that king because, as you can see, those songs that he played tonight, man, that's real music."

He continues: "This is a celebrational stage and we couldn't play around with him. We had to let him get his garden because he showed up and showed out. That man pulled up to Verzuz three hours early. D'Angelo was the earliest person in Verzuz history tonight so don't get him showing up [at] the time he did mixed up with the pre-show which was by DJ Scratch."

Message received, but could you imagine how many more ladies would've gotten their lives on that night of love? Can you imagine the attempted falsetto singing done by viewers on that special and rare night? It would've been nice to see D'Angelo and Maxwell on the same bill, that's for sure.

Watch Swizz and Timbo talk about the match that could have been while clearing the air about D'Angelo's start-time at around the 4-minute and 20-second mark of the video below.

 

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Rapper Bobby Shmurda poses backstage at Power 105.1's Powerhouse 2014 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on October 30, 2014 in New York City.
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Bobby Shmurda Returns Home After Serving 6 Years In Prison

After serving 6 years, Bobby Shmurda is finally out. The rapper, born Ackquille Pollard, was granted a conditional release from the New York state prison, Clinton Correctional Facility, on Tuesday morning (Feb. 23) and will serve the remainder of his 7-year sentence on parole. According to reports, Shmurda “will be under community supervision in Kings County until he completes his sentence on February 23, 2026.”

In true celebrity fashion, Shmurda was brought home in a private jet this morning. Earlier this week, Migos' Quavo told Billboard that he would do the honor of picking him up upon Bobby's release. "I'm going to get my guy. I'm personally gonna go pick up Bobby Shmurda. I'm bout to go get him. I'm gonna let him show you how I'm gonna pick him up, yessir. It's gonna be big."

And that he did.

 

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In December 2014, Shmurda was arrested at New York City's Quad Studios and was charged with conspiracy to murder, criminal possession of a weapon, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and reckless endangerment follow a two-year probe by the New York Police Department. In 2016, the former Epic Records signee and his childhood friend Rowdy Rebel accepted a plea deal and were sentenced to 7 years in prison.

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Now that Bobby is out, he'll be spending time with family and friends and getting his head back into creating new music. Watch his FaceTime call with his mother, Leslie, down below.

Welcome back, Bobby.

Bobby Shmurda on facetime with his mom after being released from prison pic.twitter.com/YvdaBzo1Y4

— Bobby Shmurda Updates (@bodboybobby) February 23, 2021

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Fred The Godson attends the Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Launch at The Griffin on March 31, 2014 in New York City.
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Fat Joe, Jim Jones and Bronx Community Celebrate Fred The Godson's Street Naming On His Birthday

Today (Feb. 22), the great MC, Fred The Godson, was honored posthumously with a street naming by his Bronx community and hip-hop industry comrades. Among the dozens of those that showed love to the rapper that passed away in April 2020 due to COVID-19 were BX native Fat Joe and Harlem repper Jim Jones. The street's South Bronx location of Leggett avenue and Kelly street will now also be called Fredrick "Fred The Godson" Thomas Way.

While snow fell heavily, the crowd of supporters and the organizers stood strong and watched as the sign was unveiled to cheers of joy. The Fred The Godson Foundation worked hard to make this day happen on what would have been Fred's 36th birthday. "Shortly after Fred’s passing, the Fred The Godson Foundation was created to carry on his legacy for his children and family, and the commitment to his dreams for the Bronx," says the foundation's mission statement. "The mission is to inspire, empower and nourish individuals, children and families in underserved communities, starting with Fred’s birthplace. The foundation will foster community unity through the common pursuit of wellness, prosperity, and opportunity."

 

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Known for having one of the most celebrated flows that included a barrage of double entendres and metaphors that were rarely matched, Fred was a respected MC with enormous skills that were able to get him featured on the famed 2011 XXL 'Freshman' class magazine cover along with Meek Mill, Mac Miller (RIP) and Kendrick Lamar. Jim Jones had some heartfelt words for the one named 'Gordo' at the ceremony, "Fred inspired me to do this music, a lot all over again. There was a time I really didn't want to do no music...and Fred would say, 'Nah, you gotta get in that booth Capo.'"

 

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The Thomas family announced thank you's and love to Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. of District 17 in the South Bronx, Bronx Borough President Ruban Diaz, NYPD's 41st Precinct, and the Bronx community for helping make the Frederick “Fred the Godson” Thomas Way street co-naming possible.

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Much respect to the legacy of the husband and father, Fred The Godson.

 

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