Inspired by: The Death of Emmett Till
In 2020 Mississippi, two brothers wearing camouflage and bright red hats load up assault rifles into the bed of their pickup truck.
In 1955 Mississippi, two brothers bound Emmett Till and threw him in the back of their pick up truck.
Emmett Till was in Mississippi visiting relatives. Carolyn Bryant said that Emmett wolf-whistled at her while shopping in the store she owned with her husband, Roy Bryant. When she rejected his advances, he insulted and grabbed her hand.
Decades later, she said her testimony was false after being coerced into testifying by her husband.
Emmett paid for his items and left with his friends. Carolyn Bryant followed them out and removed a pistol from her car, causing the boys to flee. Carolyn didn’t tell her husband out of concern for what he might do to the child.
When Till returned to the home of his uncle, Mose Wright, he asked if he could go back to Chicago.
Over the following week, Roy learned about the incident in his store. He found where Emmett was staying and went to the home with his brother J.W. Milam.
In the middle of the night, they demanded to see Emmett. His family pleaded and offered them money instead. The men would not be deterred.
They took Emmett Till to a town called Drew, beating him unconscious along the way. They tied him up in a barn and tortured him further. At some point, Emmett Till was shot in the head and put back into the pickup truck.
The next part of the night worried the brothers the most, the idea of being caught stealing an industrial fan terrified them. Nevertheless, they took the fan and tied Emmett’s body to it before throwing him into the Tallahatchie River.
Emmett’s family searched for him desperately with no success. After three days, his body rose to the surface and discovered by boys fishing. He was nearly unrecognizable from the lynching and gunshot wound.
Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam were arrested for the murder and tried. The jury consisted of 12 white men, and the brothers were found innocent. They later confessed to committing the crime in an interview.
In 2020 the boys pulled up to a sign on the side of the road. A sign that had been replaced three times after being shot and destroyed. The latest sign weighed 400 pounds consisting of solid, bulletproof steel.
One of the brothers aimed his rifle at the sign, hoping to prove the sign wrong. He was so afraid of the symbol Emmett Till, unknowingly and undeservingly, became he had to exert his dominance.
One-shot rang out.
“It didn’t go through, fire another one.”
The lone man turned to see his brother lying on the ground with a hole in his head from the ricocheted bullet.
“Roy?! You’re dead!”
If America were ever great as their hats suggested, we’d have learned to live together centuries ago, and all be richer for it.