Why Are We Still Reliving the Nightmarish Death of Emmett Till? Dan Wakefield / The Nation

When I went to Mississippi to cover the trial, I had no idea that the story would become so relevant again more than 60 years later.

n August 1955, a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago was tortured and killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. His body was found in the Tallahatchie River with a 70-pound cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire. Less than one month later the two white men responsible were found “not guilty” by an all-white jury in Sumner, Mississippi. But the case has never died. Emmett Till lives on, and the town in which he was killed is now a tourist attraction.

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