emmett-till-getty
Getty

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.

 

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Cardi B Comments On Government Shutdown: "Our Country Is In A Hellhole"

Cardi B wanted to give her two cents on the now-25 day partial government shutdown. The Grammy-nominated rapper got political on her Instagram page, stating that she believes our country is in a "Hellhole" and she feels terribly for those affected.

"It’s been a little bit over three weeks. Trump is now ordering, as in summoning, federal government workers to go back to work without getting paid," she said. Cardi continued by telling people not to drag former President Barack Obama's partial government shutdown into the conversation, as his shutdown was for a better reason than Trump's dream border wall.

"Now, I don't want to hear any of y'all motherf**kas talkin' 'bout, 'Oh, but Obama shut down the government for 17 days,' Yeah, b***h! For healthcare!" she continued. "So your grandma could check her blood pressure and you b****es could go check y'all p***y at the gynecologist with no motherf**kin' problem. This sh*t is really f**kin' serious, bro. This sh*t is crazy. Like, our country is in a hellhole right now. All for a f**kin' wall."

The Invasion of Privacy MC continues by stating that she is "scared" and feels badly for those who aren't able to be compensated for their work.

"Now, I now a lot of y’all don’t care…  b***h I’m scared," she concludes. "This is crazy, and I really feel bad for these people that gotta go to f**kin' work without getting f**kin' paid."

Watch her comments below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I know a lot of ya do r watch the news so I’m letting ya know shit getting real .....I ain’t going to say nothing much tho I don’t want mofos to off me.....ANYWAYS TWERK VIDEO OUT NOW

A post shared by CARDIVENOM (@iamcardib) on Jan 16, 2019 at 2:41pm PST

Continue Reading
Getty Images

R. Kelly's Former Manager Will Reportedly Surrender To Georgia Police For Threats Towards Savage Family

James Mason, R. Kelly’s former manager who is being accused of sending terrorizing, threatening text messages to the father of one of Kelly’s accusers, is reportedly surrendering to Georgia authorities.

According to The Blast, Mason will surrender in Henry County, Ga. on Wednesday (Jan. 16) after a judge issued a warrant for his arrest, citing “terroristic threats and acts.” A police report obtained by the site states that Mason told Timothy Savage, the father of Kelly’s alleged cult member Jocelyn Savage, that he was going to “f**king kill” him when he saw him, and that he was going to harm him and his family.

A second manager for Kelly, Don Russell, is also reportedly under investigation for allegedly harassing and threatening the Savage family for participating in the six-part docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly. 

Mr. Savage was reportedly texted by Mr. Russell, who said it would “be best for him and his family if the documentary [Surviving R. Kelly] does not air." During a phone call that was put on speaker, Russell reportedly threatened to reveal information about Mr. Savage if he did not pull out of the doc.

Kelly is under investigation in both Georgia and Illinois, which is reportedly a direct response to the allegations made in the Lifetime docu-series.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Porn Site Condemns Users After Searches For R. Kelly's Sex Tape Increase

Searches for the infamous sex tape recorded by R. Kelly and featuring a minor has seen an uptick, and a porn site is condemning its users from trying to find it, because child pornography is illegal.

According to The Blast, porn site xHamster reportedly said that searches for the term ‘R. Kelly’ are up 388 percent since the beginning of January. Of course, this coincides with the release of the six-part Lifetime docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly, which chronicles over 20 years of indecent and immoral behavior towards teenage girls and women.

The site noted that they do not have the infamous tape that involves the controversial musician having sex with and urinating on an underage girl, nor will they ever carry it and other videos like it on their site.

“The R. Kelly tape is not on xHamster, nor would we ever allow it to be,” representatives for the site told The Blast. “Regardless of the news or sensation, a tape featuring underaged is both illegal and immoral.” xHamster also says they will be “disabling searches and putting up messages alerting any searches that the content is not acceptable.”

One of the messages on the site says “Please consider that in searching for and viewing such content, you may be re-victimizing a minor who could not consent.”

Continue Reading

Top Stories