This Black Man Was Killed For Offending A White Woman. But 63 Years On She Confessed That She Lied

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The 14-year-old boy pulled from the Tallahatchie River on August 31, 1955, had been so badly beaten that he was practically unidentifiable. In fact, one of his eyes had been gouged out. And then he had been shot in the head. To weigh down his body, his murderers had tied a 75-pound metal fan around the teen’s neck with razor wire. After that, they threw him into the water…

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The boy’s name was Emmett Till, and he was visiting Mississippi from Chicago. Upon the return of his body, his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley thought the whole world should see what those Southern racists did to him. His casket was left open at his funeral. And when the media published images of his grotesque injuries, it helped galvanize the civil rights movement and, ultimately, bring about social change.

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Today, however, the hard-won progress by the civil rights movement is facing a challenge from a tide of racial hatred. The Southern Poverty Law Center (S.P.L.C.) – an Alabama-based non-profit organization dedicated to monitoring the far right – has recorded a 20 percent rise in hate groups since 2014. But there is another reason why Till’s death has contemporary significance. According to recently unearthed evidence, the supposed motive for his killing was apparently predicated on lies.

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