8th graders hold memorial march


Jose Romo Jr./For The Madera Tribune

Superintendent Todd Lile marches with student historians.

 

Seek justice for Emmett Till


Sixty eighth graders stepped off from the parking lot of the Madera Unified district offices Monday and marched to the Madera County Courthouse Museum in support of justice for Emmett Till.


They each carried colorful placards emblazoned with photos of the murdered African-American youth, who lost his life because he whistled at a white woman in 1955.


The march comes as the young historians prepare to hold a trial for the two men who escaped conviction for the horrendous crime they committed.


The students from Eastin-Arcola and La Vina Schools commenced the Madera Method project in August, which focused on the evolution of “Jim Crow” in Madera and in the nation.


After examining several local examples of Jim Crow, the students broadened the scope of their effort to include the history of Jim Crow throughout the country. This brought them face-to-face with violent expressions of Jim Crow, the inescapable result of racism.


The students investigated several lynchings, and then they discovered the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American lad. They were stunned by this heinous crime and shocked by the fact that the two grown, white men who tortured and murdered 14-year-old Emmett were tried and found, “Not Guilty.”


So appalled were the students that they decided to correct this historical injustice by putting Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, the killers, on trial.


They will hold the trial in the Madera County Courthouse Museum in March. Students will prosecute the case, and 12 members of the Black Students Union will serve as jurors. Superior Court Judge Ernie LiCalsi will preside over the trial, and Sheriff Tyson Pogue will serve as bailiff.