In My Write Mind
Sick. That's what I was when I saw it. Even though it wasn't the first time. Last night, forty of their "60 Minutes" was devoted to the investigation and re-opening of the 50 year old case against the state of Mississippi regarding the murder of Emmett Till. Due in large part to 31-year old filmmaker Kevin Beauchamp, who did years of research on the case and pleaded with Congress to persuade the Department of Justice to re-examine and re-try those still alive and responsible for the senseless murder.
In an interview with Ed Bradley, Beauchamp, who grew up in Louisiana, said he first heard about the case while reading the infamous Jet magazine which published the photo of Emmett's disfigured face at his funeral, and was saddened when he realized that the murderers had gone free. He has been obsessed with the case ever since, spending the last six years filming and tracking down witnesses.
"In the minds of many Mississippians in 1955, a black man could justifiably be lynched even for looking at a white woman. Emmett was tortured and killed for allegedly "wolf whistling" at Mr. Bryant's wife, Carolyn, a storekeeper in Money, Miss. One of the tragedies of this case is that the so-called "wolf whistle" was probably a misunderstanding. Emmett had a speech impediment. When he got stuck on a word, he would stop speaking and abruptly whistle, as a way of untangling his tongue."
The two men, Roy Bryant and his brother-in-law J.W. Milam, who admitted to abducting the boy, were acquitted of his murder. Despite riots over the incident, no one was ever held accountable. While those men have since died, there is evidence, gathered by Beauchamp, supporting the fact that others worked in concert with the killers, including black men who were most likely field workers at the time.
Personally, I applaud those who stood up at the first trial, as well as Beauchamp, the Department of Justice, Senator Charles Schumer of New York State, who is head of the Senate Judiciary Committee and championed the cause to the DOJ, and 60 Minutes for doing all they can to bring the family of Emmett some sort of justice.
While the details may make them--like me--sick to their stomachs having to re-live it, the closure that convictions would bring might make it well worth it. Hopefully, no one will rest till justice is served...
scribbled by Will at 10/25/2004 11:52:00 AM
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I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)
The Write One
Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971. Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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