On this August 28, 1955

African-American teenager Emmett Till was murdered near Money, Mississippi, for flirting with a white woman, energizing the nascent American Civil Rights Movement.

Open Casket of Emmett Till

Open Casket of Emmett Till

The murder of Emmett Till was noted as one of the leading events that motivated the American Civil Rights Movement. The main suspects were acquitted, but later admitted to the murder.

Till’s mother insisted on a public funeral service, with an open casket so as to show the world the brutality of the killing.

Till had been beaten and an eye gouged out, before he was shot through the head and thrown into the Tallahatchie River with a 70-pound cotton gin fan tied to his body with barbed wire.

His body was in the river for three days before it was discovered and retrieved by two fishermen.

Till was buried in Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois. The murder case was officially reopened in May 2004, as part of the investigation, the body was exhumed in order to perform an autopsy. The body was reburied in a new casket, which is standard practice in cases of body exhumation, by the family in the same location later that week.

In July 2009, while his gravesite appeared undisturbed, his original casket, in which his battered body was famously displayed years earlier, was found rusting in a run-down shack on the cemetery grounds.


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