14-year-old Emmett Till, an African American from Chicago, is brutally murdered for allegedly flirting with a white woman (Carolyn Bryant) four days earlier. This happened in 1955
His assailants—the white woman’s husband and her brother—made Emmett carry a 75-pound cotton-gin fan to the bank of the Tallahatchie River and ordered him to take off his clothes. The two men then beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head and then threw his body, tied to the cotton-gin fan with barbed wire, into the river.
In 2017, Tim Tyson, author of the book The Blood of Emmett Till, revealed in the book that Carolyn Bryant recanted her testimony, admitting that Till had never touched, threatened or harassed her. “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,”
Some people say, racism was real way back when, but not now, they’ll say. Nobody alive today owned slaves, they’ll say. I never see racism, they’ll say. We have a Black president, they’ll say. Back up your claim and prove racism exists, they’ll say.
This is hard to tease out except educating ourselves and friends that it is implicit and systemic which is harder to see, harder to accept and harder to understand.