From Emmett Till to Barack Obama

obama and civil rights emmett till
Bettmann / Corbis

Emmett Till
In the summer of 1955, fourteen-year-old Till traveled from his native Chicago to visit his uncle in Money, Mississippi, a small town in Delta cotton country. During an encounter in a local grocery store, Till allegedly whistled and/or spoke to the owner's young wife. When the owner found out, he took Till from his uncle's home and, with the help of some other men, brutally beat and shot him. A 75-pound cotton gin fan was tied to Till's neck with barbed wire and his body was dumped in the Tallahatchie River.

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