thumbnail of American Experience; The Murder of Emmett Till; Interview with Mamie Till Mobley, mother of Emmett Till
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the pope so again start with a question that will take some great why why did your parents leave mississippi moved my father was looking for better living conditions and we had relatives in the city and they were constantly writing about the opportunities than then sometime in late twenty three my father leapt mississippi and came to chicago he was employed by the corn products refining company and our vote illinois so you with us and it was part of a lot of people agree on what they call the great migration as part of a lot of people were leaving mississippi was
so yes yes he was oh my family was kind a late leaving but tell on my own on my own mother's side my aunt had come to chicago and maybe the older sister and said oh some relatives and they were the ones that were urging my mother and then to leave the south and come to come to chicago why what what what they hope to find in chicago where they mean when you know in mississippi and what they hope to find in chicago are all these people well they were looking almost as the future looking for the promised land of chicago of the lando prompts and they they thought that milken it was everywhere and sober a lot of excitement leading the south leave in the cotton fields of
leaving the old place where you had to get off the sidewalk and you as you approached a white woman particularly and holding your hand down you could hold your hands up in chicago so on this was very very exciting group you're talking about you're your life in chicago home you know as as a very young adult and you had you know you were working for the government and you had a middle class life i suppose you would say there are in fact no i have learned in these latter years that my son was thought as the rich kid and up we lived a very ordinary light i was one of us a second black president are both illinois to get off my knees and
started working for the federal government i had worked with a copy school of aeronautics for about two years and that's for a lot of the tuskegee airmen first became pilots and during the war they were they became known as the task he whenever i can't remember the exact title but i worked with those fellows out it at seventh and how long before there was even transportation and there were no role it's leading to aisle to eighty seven then howl and out i remember they would pick me up every morning at seven ce and we would bump bump bump until we got to the airport they would pick me up in sixty years and how i though we just picked our way out to a nice fashion how ah that gave me that i was looked upon with a lot of respect because i was no longer a
cleaning houses and baby sitting and watching and the irony i believe me i know my wages are about seven dollars a week but i learned every every cent i had the big house to clean out i had the children to babysit and two feet and have begun to play well i have been watching to do that i mean to do it the responsibility of the entire family with my and i must say that i did a remarkable job he has a very narrow the housekeeper you say you're busy you're moved it to government work was a real simple my move to government where it was very strange because no none of the black people are able to take the civil service exam it wasn't even open to us but my
best girlfriend allie williams i had done her job with a coffee school of economics and we would ride to get it every morning in fact she would have breakfast and my house in ireland and we went over my mother went to gaza city they're in the bus with the customer at seventh and how and no two mornings even the cell only our carpenter and somebody told me that ali was and where i said no she didn't come yesterday or to me now and they toyota she has a civil service job oh ok so when i got a chance to speak with it and wanted to know what is going on and why didn't you tell me i know i don't know if you remember the game is
satisfactory explanation but i tell us so you tell me really get it depends there and she was a little hagee about telling me but i got it out of and no ayatollah ahmad where i wanted to go i went back to my job and i told thee owners of india's coffee was the army can own everything and his wife well brown coffee who was an aviator that she really ran the show she read him and everything else and out i asked for a raise and she told me she said well i have to tell you wait wait isn't frozen embryos she told me that it can galvanize something within me and i ask for a
day off and windy and tamara what every day and that was an out so the next morning ayatollah ahmad we're going to services we're going and take the civil service exam and mom would usually try to read my wishes than aleve when i had no idea and i took that example or all the flying colors but i had to have the taking tests and my accent there i had gotten to lose your hair and tightening up aspect of high school i am no i knew how to taliban and the keyboard but i guess that means that there is chuck i'm a general
and i didn't pass the test i didn't get the fourteenth armored cement but the young lady in charge who was also by and that was a shock to me elmo well the operation with her name she told which is that you go home and see a movie tonight and come back in the morning and pass those tests you can tie i can tell that oh my god she said go to the movies she did nobody he wrote something she had touched because going to the movies was something that i was not allowed to do even though i was growing i had been married my son was oh almost two years so this is the new forty three louis had gone into service that was the husband we had come to of putting on the way is an obie he had been given a choice of going to jail or
go to the army and he decided to go to the army and no but i still couldn't go to the show because mama was still the boss the covers twenty one years old i guess but anyway at home mom andrea i i had to go to the show that night i said the lady in charge told me to go to the show and to relax and come back and pass a test and i'm really i was so excited about going to the show and my mom da vinci told me ok you get into the show and i really enjoy that movie i can't remember what it was but i had that was the best show i've ever seen in the light because i was watching it without fear of being discovered and given the lighting plot about how obama would apply strap or switzerland everything from tangy and you know i went in the next morning and
i assume that test i mean it was really a matter of oh post hypnotic suggestion i would say because i went through that test refine colors and i was high gear and the funny thing about it was i got a bigger salary that my friends that she started working at dell one thousand two hundred twenty dollars a year and i got hired at fourteen for it so that made me oh my goodness i'm of army i realize that in the senate but i have observed union season we're looking at as elizabeth ii so i think that point mom you use it you're at you can have this is adam very middle class life of tv and in the span of a week we know you can't you know you have a tv
but i'll tell you might be good hand we have a telephone and that was so that put us in a class all by ourselves there are about two or three families out of our own with telephones and we were the first ones out the next thing we have a brand new for automobile now buzz and brandon than we bought that forty and nineteen thirty three that was in nineteen thirty three for de la scene than four dollars but it had no here and no air conditioner it was just a stripped down for an adult or when my mother bought that car she had the lights turned off she had big astronaut that she disconnected the telephone we had to put everything we had into paying the thirty three dollars a month condo and it was predicted that how long
was going to lose their car and lose their homes use it again it might instead of losing my mother paid the last three months i have time she took them and ninety nine dollars before she could drive back to the house which was less than three blocks the news was on it on my street that had paid for that i will be on everything you did but there was news obviously some families mallory family early humans oh oh oh where her her roots and blow the game's family that with my mother's my mother and now there was one more really johnson those three when they looked at it was though i know pattern for everyone else to fall but nobody ever bought that red line will be on my mother was
the only one and no she was the only driver my stepfather did not try so being church people usually they were dealing with a church where or school where my mother was quite a community person because as long as i was in school she was in school and out so was ruby johnson and rose the maori couldn't be there because she worked but my mom would report back to her so they had their little network going wee wee wee you read it to us there's no talk to me a little bit about the you know the joy the
old maid and as that was we were all excited because so i was the oldest grandchild and i was getting ready to bring his son into the world and i was kind of well everything has centered around mainly out of three oh a focal point in the family because i was the smartphone kiev and oh my mother had raised me real good in the church in oh i was excelling in school and when the time came for me to bring forth a child everybody was focused on mamie m this maybe well i went to the hospital and no other wednesday morning when my son wasn't born until friday sometime friday and no i was having difficulty with member he was a bridge baby i know so they put me in this
room and they kind of forgot about me and the war broken oh let the water broke i began to get ok i was no longer struggle and when they passed by my room and i was up helping the other lady and that they had that was in the room and she was very vocal about her birth he was cursing to have been in the sheet with everything and screaming and i was trying to calm her down and that's when they grant me and took me into a delivery and out of all the time that i've been maybe they're becoming see about me that has been passing by but this time it was over the skin into the room and oh i thought all i thought the baby was coming in but it didn't feel like that maybe it
felt like oh something else in our car from bed and in the doctor told me the baby is going to come out the same way he went in i'm blessed i mean i could feel not so great our know how i thought the doctor thought the baby got very well but oh the idea of him saying that the oil is coming out of a mosque in and then the next thing i knew they were shooting me with a needle they gave me i'll put that they give me if there are they sat me with a needle that they couldn't call the over a month now and i was it was that they all my face and well the next thing i knew i was waking up oh the baby had been delivered but he was of that was a forceps delivery and when i
when they brought that baby to me i saw stars here in spite of those humans can love scrabble and i said oh maybe coger this can really lead baby just how is all that it looks like that he looked up at me and he began to cry and oh my god i think all our full going to miss emily mother loves you on was trying to make up for what i had set because it seemed that he had reacted to what i say and i didn't see him anymore i don't know whether he knew he might have been too weak so you write about a month all that it came up i hadn't faction following the birth of them in
awe and so they have to keep us we were isolated from one another they kept him in the hospital for two weeks because the and the local court had wrapped around his left hand and his right knee and that's why he was covering breach well they got that straightened out he was i love when they got him oh passable is what i used to call it they sent him home but they can't meet them i brought him back to the hospital and say to me whoa so we'd this one another again he was among all before i really get a chance to oh have him as my own and oh i was so disappointed because my little baby had turned from oh a little white baby with
blue eyes that blonde hair to a little round baby he wasn't really brown betty was so much darker and i wonder was that my baby mamas so yes this is your baby because they come in have been made at his bird that given thirty days that you looked the way he's supposed to look and certainly a lot in thirty days he was off and the tail well we get along wonderfully together except that i didn't have to put him on a formula i was unable to breastfeed mundo when i either won or nothin but there was something wrong because i think that if we really want to look at ok to jump ahead and where
there's like sylvia and his father's death and i want to keep the gatekeepers in the time period occasionally but so yes so tell me how you heard and when did you know about that i received a telegram from the u s department of the army i guess and they told me that your husband lou is still die many and the date but i just looked at that a couple days ago but now that they said because their debt willful misconduct and that was all they told me finally they sent me his arm but few possessions he had which consisted mainly i'm really i can't remember
anything else that they sent me but they sell of something and out i put the ring away because i had no use for the ring and i wasn't ready to give it a green and couldn't use it he was to tell me i and he was only about three or four or five years old at the most so the rain does the wave for another day i know i'm beginning to asked the army of how an endo they never would respond to maybe they would not give me they told me that they had told me all that they were permitted to tell me in the telegram and that's that's all i ever heard until center to eastland that the information that i had been trying to get but i was also reading an
article eric his memories of some of his army buddies said no stacey solomon tell me how come so you know how does that had passed and it put the railway hat on how did the day emit less from mississippi the day before he left for trial for mississippi i brought the rain out and told him the story behind the rink my well i told him it was his father strain out and going to any details he knew that is there was data but i've never tried to tell him anything about his father's death because i didn't know anything and i didn't i hadn't even told him that his dad
and i were separated so images that you have a father in the army and this was his rein and he died while he was in the service and no as it does well i just want to talk about the rain let the veterinarian in the midst of the story over the years those here and just again just discover the storied kennedy me the short version is you know you work and go off on parsons and it's this too much but it's a great story the day before most honest if you can come now the great sellers he didn't know how to get to it i didn't have that ring know one day before he left going to mississippi and he was very excited about the ring he really appreciated
before he left he's started running up the steps to board the train because we could hear the whistle blowing and you know he was like enjoying couple miles in real car or on the train i know we raised sixty third street the train originated twelve straight man he was bounding up the steps or trying to make it to the train and i said well i can't you know i've said it will you have to just make it back and when doctors see him again and he looked at me and he said oh mom he scolded me for saying something like that but he turned around and came back and though he kissed me goodbye and he said here take this he pulled his what's often deemed to leith about what need this where i'm going i said what about uranium
so all i'm gonna show that often fells and with that he was up the steps and on his way to get on the train great thinkin what can what kind of blow was in the middle of the night well tim means perfection you know rebound is on scene that's wrong about science and i always thought that meant every evening i was at work during the daylight hours when he was out playing and doing other things the old boys do but my mother never had any complaints about it she ever told me that he spanked on monday it seemed that he was just a given the dmv was supposed to do it and she took him to church with harrison he was brought up in the amateur to
my stepfather thought he was perfection mr gaines oh he was the most wonderful step five the arab world but one day we came home from church and other allies and both those travel out of town and he was taking his finger putting them in his knowles the aisle look at how the time was tears were coming out of his eyes and when i saw him a boat was doing and coupled with letting him to where i grabbed him and i want to know on his reality and i think you don't get to the top and papa time raised up and he personally affect everything he could end up because i think at that baby the one and only time that he ever shown any ill will towards leave and he told me to keep the hands of mental
so he had had hidden price that was that the more incidentally sure what kind of work and a lot of times in a single mothers in an independent it's very close no help for als week their schools are at each can remove says chicago we want to be right and i had to try and returned to chicago for the first time i'd ever had it ended our bow arm around it and there were just the two of us that sixty five in st lawrence but i had moved by uncle my father's oldest brother and his white and on the first or so that image would never come home to an empty house there was always somebody there to receive him and then he had to account to
an ad age can we retain been removed from the tri back to chicago we will get about november and later on the following here and it's always said if you can go out and make the money i can take care of the house and i've done the house on him i mean it was just like i was carrying a load and i laid it down and then he had believed to hear about how to see swept he bought he held me till late road see help me to lay trial i mean he was very he was no other able bodied help around the house later he told me he said i love you too and i went down and make sure that he knew how to operate the ring of a scene and then after that the laundry he did the laundry then he decided that he could
pay the bill olsen stop the groceries and i remember the first time i gave him a hundred dollars to go and pay bills and i was shaking like a leaf on a tree make of the hundred dollars was a lot of money and we didn't have a set looks at that time didn't know what they didn't even though the use of a settler but then they went down to state at madison he unveiled ahead above the leading historians and then coming back so he stopped in serious in that there still aren't paid the males then he came all the way back to the sixties there'd be two you have huge roman stoic island and he paid mine telephone bill the light bill by guests bill and he had about seventeen the center left and he puts all unpaid bills on the dresser along with the change and he
let me know that he knew that as he is that he would wait for me to give it to me didn't just take it and so my aunt had given him permission to be out a couple of doors away and that's where he was and when he thought i was home he came home and i complimented him on one a beautiful job he had done and even brought me to change is not that there is a month i learned that i think you certainly did and i gave him that and an extra dollar iran says the real hillary very grateful all and then his cooking he had two things that he liked fry corn and pork chops and when he was shot he would buy two packages from four shops and he went one was forty one was for him and
he would cook these put sauces separate skill with because he wanted to make soon he got his real for however many and that i didn't get one appears by mistake on the late he repeat really divided those chops up then you open two players and dreams south korea and then he would come with a pepper shaker and you've never eaten but corn and you're like that ford would be black with pepper and i would be eating and drinking eating and drinking because my mouth was on fire you're not trying to discourage the use of so much out there that succeeded but to this day i am very very careful with the way you like that
and i and i'm really will follow it and might say sloth speeches ms loretto minnesota how timid i have to go so i'm myles was in town he had come in to chicago to bury a friend of his and while he was here it was decided that to his grandsons would return home with him for the summit of mt was very close to the grandson but lived in argo though not because we live next door to one another and oil demand even the real was two years older he and three other words as they were also made and no went and found out that we learned was going
he turned the heat need to let him go oh we were going we had already planned on vacation and we were supposed to be leading all for detroit michigan to pick up a cousin in that we were going to drive to omaha nebraska and visit with her relatives their bad image was had been promised that he couldn't even drive on the highwaymen were going to let him i'll try his driving skills on the highway and know which i did not agreed to but that's what do you tell him and i would rule against the oh you are oh we almost the limits of getting ready all while the damage left going to mississippi something it happened to me and i became to mobilize i couldn't
walk i was feeling fine but my legs just with a low some point my body and by the time i got back home from the train station i was forced to crawl up the steps and no so that persisted for a week but in order for him to go to mississippi my mother and i felt it would be necessary to speak to papa miles and give him some words of caution for the boys to reach a couple boys going to mississippi and there are going to be with at least three or four up apple nose has poisoned it was time to really zero in and help the chicago boys survived the summer i end up with me
laughter now saying they thought we were so silly mama and i mean for us to be coming over about just one chick well that's all we have we had one little shake the rest of them had many signs of any daughters they reloaded the relative nieces nephews etc but we just haven't won an argument that emit humans to get me that maybe came in he said well mom how is that they knew and my mom could take two of bungalows has daughters and raise them and we had taken to come over she was in third grade and she was in the second year teacher's college then oh the republic to create a seven or eight and she had finished high school and had gone to work to help fellow make it is a common teachers carpet and now and i couldn't understand how i could take the helm and
they hadn't even been back to the fall to see that parents and yet you won't let me go for a week and that kind of never really got to my mother and i got to meet so we were both coming over to the doubters house and moses writes daughter's house who was the mother of chris jones i had no we were going to meet up over there i didn't know she was coming she didn't know i was coming but i was acting on the east side of the street and she was talking on the west side of the street in front of the house and that's living lab all they thought that was the most ridiculous things they now concert concerned we were about as well here you're right at the same hour
and know we went in and we caution couple miles and weak talk to the boys said oh i said well we need to pray about this and mom was there are really pretty i know we finally gave are consent and we had to stop we have to unpack and repack and because i had since they knew they were coming and drug act that you know when we got all through we were supposed to meet the promos down at the twelve street station but we just couldn't make it so we went and sixty third street station and that's where it ended and i heard it and that's when it is my legs gave out nothing wrong with monday's ankles anything but the strange one of my legs and they would not function i don't even know how i got back to my town that idea
and about the time i got home i was linda's crawley grew tired of war well as a digital voice mississippi alabama mississippi with mexico go and when you go to mississippi if you're living on an entirely different several moves are it is yes ma'am and no ma'am yes sir no sir and bo if you see a white woman coming down the street you get off the sidewalk and european don't even look at her as she passes by really going to extremes either you know that have been really the custom down there but i never had since then that that was the custom you get off the sidewalk and you lower your he and you don't look or white prison in awe
and no i guess i've i made things as scary as i can possibly make them and i just had to distill it to you know what to do and what not to do it that we know of the story about him and ended up having a while it did hugh bonneville a former big yes at the ny and so it was a story that had been there was a theater that had been converted into a store and was formally the south town theater which was a beautiful place i mean it was so magnificent that it was the new sixty theory involves jet that was on sixty third street a lot less easily passed it and it had become a huge almost a junk stiller mean it almost look like oh gee
in town we have a section in its economy used to come to town and that's for all the staff was out in all picked over and rummage through that right now and we have to get and why we had to get several other things add that and we had quite a problem selecting a wall at that time there were pictures of movie stars in the wall a little are biographical sketch of them and out in manhattan kenny lao mai in one hand inviting them are in the other hand and he couldn't decide which one he wanted but if i remember correctly i think he chose heavy load well i don't really know what any way whichever one that was a picture that was in the wallet and that was the picture that my women bryant claimed immense
sanders his girlfriend but there was a movie star camp three you know which other adventure yes it harder for him to take this trip we had to pick up a few items are a lot of and part of him to go and one of these was a lot and we had gone to the store and we were searching through the holland said he's selected two one had dirty little more and both of these various sort of his favorites and he was having a lot of difficulty deciding which ones to take but if i remember correctly to the one that had a large figure and that and that's a picture that he had in his wallet that moment and bryant say he's
sick with his girlfriend that he was going to visit mose wright rigueur to swing state you begin he does after being with a quick sketch of the wall as mose wright was welcome to moses right was a preacher and it was the site of that preacher and he passed through a catholic churches are low because they didn't have enough preachers to go around so quite often one minister would take over to empty churches and he had that one and money in iowa where the other one was but he was a hard working man he was bought and why read but all of that gets that old mail and wear and he knew how to work
his true are his children his grandchildren over who ever was around they all went to the fields so his voice for a cursive ifill were image wasn't but in that would call him about how air oh this event at the house when she would get up and fix breakfast he would stay until the breakfast dishes were done and she would go into the garden select but they were going to have a dinner and all of those cats were on then and it would go to the meal he would usually go back there of the bodies the top of miles came in for their lines then he would go back with them then i know another thing that really excited her into hell or washing machines you would wash every day i was you have a lot of people to watch for an addition to her own family that was about
seven or eight people then she had to have three babies she was taking care of babysitting and then her stand doesn't bring their laundry over and see what was five am i mean it was an ongoing war cycle i am by human being a passage is it wasn't easy to do a lot of that work for her and that just thrill herded that as you will see in the letters that she wrote this week question about those two are my destiny you talk about home each day that you talked to him in the boys' before they went south in and told you know nato and put his head their own and not to people what they think of all this we take this seriously
i know i wonder if he did he seemed to be taking at all but i was telling him but there was something about him that made me think he thought i was exaggerating which i was i was trying to exaggerate if i could oh go high end up i think is going to see how cities are so can do things here that you have to be very careful and now he told me that he understood and that's all i could go of the voices were accustomed to going to mississippi now we'll read the other of war crimes and oil i'm here now are really pay his mother would not let him go out the rose bowl everywhere he didn't go until the following
saturday or maybe he arrived a couple hours before them in force that we didn't know as a lesson and waterfowl questions that they had was that include paralysis that than any other he had the polio paula you knew oh oh oh and it was a kid who loved to play he was outdoors and we know is that every day his temperature would go up every day he was as fine as could be an american night keen on the temperature wind solar settlement as a monthly take him to the doctor and find out what this is all about and that's when he was diagnosed as having polio
i know that poll he'll never stopped in during the day but it stopped him every day i know when he was already had recovered from polio we notice that his speech was not the way it had been oh i dont know if what was so affected that made has made him have a stutter but he the speech impediment never less intimated seemingly it just went on and on and we began to take him to doctors and clinics and what have you after over a year of this we were told at one of chicago's finest comics which was so illinois search and research they called it well the bacteria they're told me you would probably throw it and that was the last fall when he was
American Experience
The Murder of Emmett Till
Raw Footage
Interview with Mamie Till Mobley, mother of Emmett Till
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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Mamie Till Mobley Interview about her son Emmett Till, an African-American teenager who was lynched in Mississippi at the age of 14 after reportedly flirting with a white woman.
Race and Ethnicity
Law Enforcement and Crime
American history, African Americans, civil rights, racism, lynching, Mississippi
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Identifier: Barcode291075_TillMobley_01_SALES_ASP_h264 Amex.mp4 (unknown)
Duration: 0:50:44
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Chicago: “American Experience; The Murder of Emmett Till; Interview with Mamie Till Mobley, mother of Emmett Till,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “American Experience; The Murder of Emmett Till; Interview with Mamie Till Mobley, mother of Emmett Till.” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: American Experience; The Murder of Emmett Till; Interview with Mamie Till Mobley, mother of Emmett Till. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from