Friday, February 22, 2013
On our drive from Jackson to Memphis, as we traveled through the heart of the Mississippi Delta, we made a stop in the tiny town of Glendora where a museum is dedicated to remembering the life and death of Emmett Till. The Emmett Till Historic Intrepid Center is housed in the gin (a building where cotton is processed) where Till was murdered. In 1955, Till, a youth from Chicago, was spending time with relatives in nearby Money, MS. Tilll allegedly whistle at a white woman in a grocery, and later that night, J.W. Milam, a local white with reputation for “handling n——s” and others abducted Till from his grandparents’ home, tortured and murdered him, and dumped him nearby in the Black Bayou / Tallahatchie River. His body was found later by a young boy fishing in the river. Till’s body was returned to Chicago, and Till’s mother famously opted for an open casket funeral. Till’s disfigured corpse shocked and outraged people across the country. The museum tells this story, as well as acknowledging local blues legend, Sonny Boy Williamson, but it also captures the local history in terms of politics, social, and economic relationships including the continuing poverty in Glendora today. It’s worth a stop.