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A student reflects on Emmett Till trial

For The Madera Tribune

Gueorgina Bojorquez testifies at the Emmett Till trial.


Who was Emmett Till?

At first I didn’t know who he was either, and this is why the story of Emmett Till is important. Not many people know about him, and that his story is the main reason for the civil rights movement.

Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African-American boy, who was brutally tortured and murdered by two white men. Emmett was accused of allegedly flirting and whistling at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant. In September of 1955, an all-white jury found Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam not guilty for the murder of Emmett Till. Protected against double jeopardy, in 1956 the two men publicly confessed in a Look Magazine article that they did kidnap and murder Emmett Till. In the minds of many, Carolyn Bryant, Roy Bryant, and J.W. Milam will always remain the trio who got away with an injustice, and, until they all die, the murderers will forever live with the guilt of killing an innocent life. (Roy Bryant and Milam are deceased — Carolyn Bryant is still living).

This tragic story inspired famous civil rights leaders, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, to start the civil rights movement. Emmett’s story opened the minds of many people, and they realized how cruel the world of racism and segregation is.

The fact that there have to be people dying for someone to be heard, and for justice to occur, is absurd and sickening. Emmett Till was just a boy who had his life taken away because of racism.

This project is important because we are avenging the blood of Emmett Till and letting everyone know what happened that day on Aug. 28, 1955 — when the life of an innocent boy was taken away.

Eastin Arcola Elementary School and La Vina Elementary School have been working on this project to bring Emmett the justice he never received, and let his story be known. We are opening the eyes of many people, making them realize how cruel racism and segregation is to the point where people die because of their skin color.

When will the world understand that your skin color doesn’t define you as a person? Only you can define yourself.

To this day, racism is still occurring all over the world. Emmett Till’s murder was a spark in the upsurge of activism and resistance that became known as the Civil Rights movement. The sight of his brutalized body pushed many who had been content to stay on the sidelines directly into the fight. The tragedy of Emmett’s murder created an immense impact on the American society, and it drew attention to the brutality of racial violence.

Our schools have been working hard, and we’re hoping to get a verdict of guilty for Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, once and for all, to bring Emmett Till and his family justice and let his story be known. We are not only bringing justice to Emmett, but we are also spreading awareness about the problem with racism. No person should ever feel unsafe in their environment because of their skin color. No one ever realizes how much racism there actually is in this world and, while doing this project, I was in complete shock. I never knew someone would go as far as to kill an innocent 14-year-old boy just because of his skin color. I am grateful that our school got an opportunity to do this project, we learned who Emmett Till was and about the barbarity of racism.

— Gueorgina Bojorquez


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