note: This video---reported and written by Rich Samuels and prodiced by Anna Vasser---originally
aired on WMAQ-TV
in July of 1985, almost thirty years after the murder of Emmett
Till. It is an expanded version of material that had aired on WMAQ-TV
newscasts the previous May.
Segment 1: Introducing Mamie Mobley, mother of Emmett Till and founder
of the Emmett Till Players. She recounts how her son went to Mississippi
to visit Moses Wright, his great-uncle in late August of 1955. Simeon
Wright, youngest son of Moses Wright, and Wheeler Parker, Emmett's
cousin, describe the incident at the store of Roy Bryant in Money,
Mississippi, that led to Emmett's abduction from the Wright home.
Moses Wright, via newsreel footage, contributes to the narrative.
Segment 2: Mississippi
resident Simon Garrett describes how he and others found the body
of Emmett Till in the Tallahatchie River. Chicago funeral director
A.A. "Sammy" Rayner, Jr., describes the condition of Emmett's
remains. Mamie Mobley explains her decision to present her son in
an open casket. Bishop Louis Ford describes Emmett's September 3rd
1955 funeral at the Robert's Temple Church of God in Christ. Simeon
Booker, Washington Bureau Chief of Jet Magazine and author James
Balswin describe the impact of the photograph of Emmett in his casket
published by Jet.
Segment 3: The trial
of Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam. Accused of Emmett's murder, they stood
trial in Sumner, Mississippi. Tallahatchie County Sheriff H.C. Strider
laments (via 1955 newsreel) that the NAACP has radicalized Mississippi
Blacks. Myrlie Evers, widow of Medgar Evers describes the effect
of the Till murder on her husband, NAACP Field Secretary for Mississippi.
Simeon Booker, former Congressman Charles Diggs and Mamie Mobley
describe the atmosphere at the trial, the highlight of which was
the testimony of Moses Wright identifying Bryant and Milam as Emmett's
abductors. John Whitten, attorney for the accused, and Ray Tribble,
one of the jurors, reflect (in 1985) on the trial and acquittal
of Bryant and Milam.
Segment 4: Epilogue:
Leflore and Tallatchie counties in 1985. Blacks are elected to city
government for the first time in Greenwood. On a Saturday afternoon
in the spring of 1985, Rich Samuels encounters Roy Bryant at Bryant's
country store in Ruleville, Mississippi. Bryant ejects Samuels and
and Places featured in "The Murder and the Movement":
Mamie Till Mobley, Emmet Till's mother. (Ms. Mobley passed away
on January 6th, 2003 at the age of 81).
Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, charged with Emmett Till's murder but
acquitted by an all-white jury. They are seen here outside the office
of attorney John Whitten who defended them.
Roy Bryant ejects Rich Samuels and his camera crew from Bryant's
store in Ruleville, Mississippi in the spring of 1985. Bryant declined
to comment for the pieces Samuels was preparing.
Roy Bryant's store in Ruleville, Mississippi.
Writer William Bradford Huie, to whom Milam and Bryant confessed
that they had participated in the murder of Emmett Till.
Moses Wright, great-uncle of Emmett Till. In court, Wright identified
Milam and Bryant as the men who came to his home and abducted Emmett.
Simeon Wright, son of Moses Wright and Emmett Till's
cousin. He was with Emmett at the time of his abduction.
Wheeler Parker, a cousin who was also present at the time of Emmett
Bishop Louis Ford who preached at Emmett Till's funeral at the Roberts
Temple Church of God in Christ.
Tallahatchie County Sheriff H.C. Strider.
Former Michigan Congressman Charles Diggs attented the trial of
Milam and Bryant as an observer.
Simeon Booker, Washington Bureau Chief for Jet Magazine.
John Whitten, one of the attorneys who defended Milam and Bryant.
Ray Tribble, one of the jurors who acquitted Bryant and Milam.
Myrlie Evers, widow of Medgar Evers, Mississippi Field Secretary
for the NAACP.