thumbnail of American Experience; The Murder of Emmett Till; Interview with Mamie Till Mobley, mother of Emmett Till
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let us send them not to talk to our own continent but there weren't really came back they had done a little bit of work they have done a great deal over someone is always says oh so you're telling me is they invented the pictures that receiver i get this holiday our youth it was worse when you win for some of those pictures are fantastic when it comes to eventually saw the pictures were ten times better than it looked when i looked at his body and beat it really makes you do add in a whole lot of work aren't they clothes is now at the move at it that his tongue back is about the soul of his head and skull back together i mean they didn't
the pope and one of one of the more there your decision to leave the casket open and i think that that is one of the most important decisions it was was importance is in the halls of rising with you and to assert a lot of people forget that you did you decide to cast you know why the problem was so huge at the funeral parlor until i knew that a lot of the people that pass by the funeral in about about the ability of words for that crowd to dissipate and people were still coming so all that was necessary for me to come for that help control the trial we had quite a few white police officers
and when they would push the crowd that there would be in angry explosions there would be his swearing in everything follow the white policemen were just not welcome the black people were ready to tear them to france so they put me on a window and i stood in the window and i talked to the crowd and i told them that they would be able to come in india and but please let us go ahead with what we had to do when we do that the body would still be available and when i would talk to them they would lie down and they would ease are not early saturday morning the us was friday evening early saturday morning i received a call from radar and he said oh would you please tell us where we can re locate the body because they're
going to try my establishment off of its foundation and i told him to take the bow it took forty twenty one side state street that was the lead the church of the charges of god in christ in illinois and maine i'll be so isaiah roberts was the pastor and no i don't know i didn't call him and ask him could i do this i just didn't end oddly enough he accepted the assignment he put in it in the basement and the people would come in one drawer they would pass by the casket they may in two ways they could go out they can go inside and they could go out the way they came into the cell island the people want the nba oh i got to have three reports from the obvious concession that was going
on there i was so that somebody had pointed out to nominate the rewards terms of that the terms to use them at an end they were being filled with many as every so often they would disappear while they would disappear and they would put up to wiretaps and it seems that people are just dropping many like met and no i don't have that many i got enough to take care of the furor and i have about two hundred fifty dollars leftover which opened in the savings account to a close i want to ask you about one of the back to i guess it was in the funeral when when the body first arrives that you make
you make the decision so to leave the casket open and cities and i want the world to see why why why did you make the decision to leave the cast you well i know that i cannot tell people what i had seen the number one they wouldn't leave me but if i had to have three hundred witnesses and all of us to testify to that they invented an act that the world needed to know what was going on in mississippi and that was the only way they would know would be for me to fool the cover all that let them see that the world see what was going on for the fifth year we have our company at the question the idea of fuel soon as it was pretty emotional very emotional of number one the church was crowded to the
extent that we didn't know at the balconies are going to collapse and fall down on the rest of the people or what but i didn't i had to sneak over the loudspeaker and tell the people that they would just be patient and let us have our funeral we would leave and the church would be open for them to come and call up as long as they wanted to because so i thought that pretty soon the crowd would die down that looked like all chicago was there and but this profession owe continued from friday evening until tuesday afternoon we had to know oh labor day coming in on a monday and that meant that on the saturday on a sunday on a monday and to
london to say that people were rioting they said that about one in every five had to be assessed it out of the building that we just go into a fait au pregnant women were coming and their families are trying to dissuade them far from looking at what was in the casket but they came in anyway and out there you have to tie up the state's three because they the crowded field for the sidewalk with unusually why all laid out into the o'reilly itself and they re routed the traffic i know of tuesday when i got back to take and we're going to borrow with him oh they had to
force opening for me to get through and we proceeded to uber oak cemetery and i haven't told that that is the largest procession and the history of chicago and not only one might have exceeded it and i was when there wasn't and i think the goal is the pursuit of it why why people bring kids all the people that i have talked to one of their children to remember let it happen to me too and they wanted him to allow face to face up to reality that the black male in america is not free add though a
this is i can say they want their children to know the dangers of living in america because so many people sent their children sobbed for the summer when school is out the kids would go sell that they wanted him to know that it is very hazardous imbeciles so you have to watch your step and will help you and indeed is one of the ways that that the world thinks of you as as an activist in somalia involved were talking about before the senate in fifty four we're an activist liu have all been no black causes and stuff that there's not really i continue to and mac or ira's community chest o r rally that was taken
up to divide among the various charities but my job was was my job i had to raise him and i had to go to my job and i never took a day off from work and no i mean i was just in my own person a little dru and i know i like to campaign event to hear of the job that i had that just thought i could do pre cut into the thought is there's a clip of you speaking to a group of maybe it's it's like a week or ten days after a listener you are really tall and dolls while still in shock that they are out there in a speaking on why did
you feel it was necessary to do i mean what was the change in you that you know oh yeah the word you know obviously if i had had to hold all of us inside of me i would've exposed that i needed to talk about it it needed to wake people up you know it was the job that i can do alone it was going to take a lot of us working together to change the scenario and there were so many people who were after me to convince the added up i was afraid of falling into the hands of the wrong people i didn't want to get involved in any a communist or any disreputable organizations so i went to new york and i ask oh
the heaven's bride wilkens they hadn't the end of the race a plea to help me to set up my places of speaking for me because i figured they would know pool was legit and was that i know in the meantime he told me that my speaking we generate funds for them to send all the military to mississippi with me i had to fight my case so i was more than willing to talk and no gather the money to how this what i didn't know was that the end of the cd will brew following brown versus the board of education i read later and jet magazine that out in three months i'd raise a two hundred fifty thousand dollars for them and that was all
mine that that were many many many now in the scene very significant about in nineteen fifty five if you had ten thousand dollars in your bank account you were secure full life you didn't have to worry about you had no financial worry so two hundred fifty thousand dollars that was so that was really they were on their feet again so that's why i was able and willing to go they had well where i said look at me as much as you can sometimes hear and what everybody was is the body of the formal what did what what did you think when you heard that they would try to white men from memory will you know in
mississippi will be a moment when he thought the city is going to rise i do what she is supposed to do the fact that they arrested them in that was a trial and no oh i expected to go to mississippi attend the trial and walk out victorious but it didn't happen that way and take again this is at the heart of for trying not to let us know what what the outcome of the story is i think that there's so many people now i don't know millions of dollars so a lot of that is if you do that is something of course if you're an hour so talented as the endgame so how did you feel when you know that they put them in so i was elated i thought that
oh we have won a victory already just don't justify the two white men had been arrested for a crime against a bike maker so that in itself was a giant step forward it has and yes he is and then seeing the footage we just saw the trial and people hanging out outside drinking colts and it looks a little circus or car was the atmosphere like that it was a circus atmosphere of number one the temperature was there was an ad in an unbearably hot in the court room and they recorded a hundred eighteen degrees there was no air conditioning no they had the ceiling only
sparingly like they're making it harder are outside that was those sun beating down and the people that curiosity seekers they are it was really like we were going to hell they all celebration of some guy named wanted to know what was going to happen with this black woman down here testifying in all of that stuff because i was not supposed to be in mississippi they had threatened me and had threatened mayor daley if he allowed me to come but i'll i had made the decision that i had no choice in the matter i have to be in mississippi i had is is there and our members with this in mind that i wear it on my father said he would go with me oh my god i felt like i had the whole war on
the side and then there was a great field will be mice that are there is matthew he's said i ask him when he go his own money and meanwhile i go he's in and you know i'd go and here i am mondays to bury me in a one on each side i just felt like i could conquer the world and you know so this was the this was our attitude but when we got there we experience something altogether different they were belligerent they were angry that i was coming in here to enhance upset that we align and they didn't spare any pains to let me know how unwelcome a month i'm trying to say yeah nice
warm ironize woman could've been the near misses the value of very good hour in the rain well how did you know in the corner which he went there and i felt for the first time in my life i felt like i was not being a love i was looked at and over all other people were being served in the court room and i was dying the first time and when we were trying to get service oh they would look at us like we were invisible and turn their heads and go in the other direction and there will not been weakened by in the courtroom and we needed to take a rest break we had to leave the courtroom and go about
two blocks in the hot sun till by cafe and that's where rick able to relieve ourselves leo and i know that humans were given free access to the judge's chambers when they needed to go they went into the judge's chambers and that's where they get whatever they have to do and came back in the kitchen i can't see and i have some good question and i don't want i think though most of a credible is casey we saw the footage on you know my woman bryant and with their kids coming the corps moved kids in being portrayed in a certain way and they
killed her son nasser al talk about how did that feel when you see them with their kids on their laps and so i didn't feel i wasn't amused or borrow the rail by the i'm having their sons on their knees cause they they look after their children during the proceedings and know that can serve this genie as two and three year olds would be bad no they were demanding a whole lot of attention in which they were getting and they wanted to eat they wanted to drink and so did the fathers they were eating and drinking and that only increases our actors we went over to the left side of the court room and a little little homemade table that evidently had been made out of
oil i mean i guess someone's varies every thursday you know we have a tendency to put your arm on the table and every time of attempts the table i would get the stick of a splinter and it went full of fabric and i dress so i had to learn to step away from the table and then the next day we brought newspapers japan the tables with and now as we sat near a window don't know let's say that the table was going north and so and at the end of the table there was a window and the man had gotten together and plan our escape in case something unfavorable broke out in the car in the courtroom which could well have happened and they decided that one hand would jump out and then the other man would
jump out and they would catch us women as we jumped out there was i was there and ruby hurley was there and are quote sealed somebody by the name of quality of siemens of defending reporter there to be women and they were going to a lookout for us in the rest of the man would have to take their chances everybody else you get out the best way you can actually hear the whiskey leslie yes and we did everything except rehearse but congressman davis was there along with a suit borat who were attorneys and know there were other people they i don't know they were from our i remember mostly of the congressman in his two million but again
we're going to say you know just start out with you know we had an escape plan just a song to get that is i think you start coming in the middle of the store so you have something planned yes we had an escape rob play and in case something violent the breakout in the classroom and then scientific or who is a question how important is this and then also you had an escape from yes we did though we had decided that so the reporters the aisle leaped from the window that was at one end of the table the insurgents in illinois and it is a surreal and yet no wind then there's years of england yes we have in the state plan of which meant that if anything unfavorable broke out in the
classroom there oh i've come back to school hair and that's a plant that anonymity a few good reason that every other olympians look at three years of implants yes we have an escape plan where nearby if anything happened in the court room that necessitated are getting out and a hurry hour two of the men were to leap from the window to the ground and catch the three women among three of us were sitting at the table and then the rest of the nation would have to get out the best way they could make that would have to cover take care of themselves but it was just so it was just amazing
how tense that courtroom situation was those of you on the second floor or two hours we're going to have to lie in them and they would get but fortunately all of us were very neat in size then try to portray you know brian am i as family center for reviews of a listener question from a holiday hell hell mine weren't cheering martin bryant were portrayed as loving family man a devoted to their wives and their children and that each of them had two sons ranging in age from fourteen to and out but each of them had a child nestled on his knee and their children
were playing with danny they were playing with one another they were hitting they were just doing things that two and three and four year olds would do and no the pandas are very patient with them they were listening to see what did they need and how they can satisfy that the kids wanted that most of the most alluring extra ball and i mean you know because things are the men who were accused of killing us your son elvis song have the free trade of family with the imf eu that didn't feel good it was so it was just such a lie until they should have leapt out anyway it may do you know that these men were not what they were being portrayed to be ironed out so knowing that this was a false our opinion that
was being reached i wondered how soon would that veneer crack pages wonder that the ironic thing is native man one son but both of them lost their two sons they never saw them grow up isn't that laws and more malls right had been afraid of cctv use of the word to use when the sheriff told him to the to the very until today in the use of the use of the internet and so on what what gave him the courage to testify we have asked that question oh and also again why was he able to stand on the witness stand and pointed his finger at the two man and named them call them bad band names this is this is something that maybe will never understand
because courage was coming from places that where it was not expected to come from but that suited me the truth just came out for many fans sought to talk to me about the current curry's it took for from mose wright we agreed to testify because the same people don't understand that one never before in the history of mississippi had any black man faced a white man and made an accusation against him that was courage that was the peak of being courageous i don't know why moses right felt that he could do this ice actually don't know why when he really felt he could do it i've testified they were just blank two mice walking into a lion's
den when they testified against my women bryant and to this day we are wondering what gave them the courage we know that it had to be the almighty god because none of us then they want to do in the media and for a while was your what was it just one level what do you say to the walls of the crops the main exhibit they achieved what they wanted out of me was so proof positive that that was my job and they would ask me questions and i believe it's you know these questions so that if i say yes or no they wouldn't doubt i might not can remember a direct example but they are limited to my oh oh a
collaboration with the indelible a cd and they concluded that are they say now i'm saying isn't it true and they knew them and not really seeing the cashier hands together and you came down here and with their help you all done up a body bag you have no claim that badly to be your son is an action that your son is in detroit michigan with his grandfather right now and his grandfather was there with me they just all kinds of screaming to make me out to be a lawyer and a troublemaker and all the and they talked about them with insurance i had two policies are young one was a nipple we won was a dime will be the nickel policy would double and bring me a thousand dollars but diane policy would
double and bring me two thousand dollars and then they wanted to know did i have in the heel so i can call a double indemnity on his insurance they did everything they could to drake mind karajan down to make me look like an uncaring that there are a steamer and and many rubber room where were you when the verdict came in and had a jesuit and then she really tired i said to my room i said it's time for the seagull and on all of congressman teens saying what a mess the very end i didn't have i was surprised that he didn't know what the verdict was going to be and no i sent congressman this is one verdict you don't want to be present to
hear i said the verdict is not guilty and he looked at me and he can ask of disney mean after all of this man is a lawyer and he knows oh the procedure it have weighed the evidence and he knew that we had to come we had to do that they had to come up with a not with a guilty verdict but because i was so agitated for my sake everybody agreed that we would all be because i was going to leave and then they left it out we were in two separate cars and no but to appease me everybody that we were about out of town about forty five minutes away oh between some newer <unk> bio mississippi where we restrain i know the very team can not guilty and though time
he rocked it i mean the screaming ow ow you can hear guns firing and it was almost like a fourth of july celebration or it was almost as if the white sox have won the pennant in the city of chicago it was just it was just it was a mess we were very very happy that we were forty five minutes away from somber because when that verdict came the aisle additional i'll permission know it was it was really oh oh oh oh they gave the ok sign form whites to do to do en un blacks and i had seen the black people as the jury retired the people who were standing around the walls began to ease out of the door and i knew
that day that there was a significant so they are moving out of the court room and that's when i took my cue that recently by or so it was open season on blacks and i think the next mayor knew they were away from town the better off they would be so this is what we heard reports from the jury the jury foreman and he has come it was it wouldn't have taken as an outlaw what they tell us to make it longer so we drank soda water and endearing swapped a few jokes and then became into their verdict it to them one hour and seven minutes to find the culprits not guilty on beautiful you said that was was talking about that for a re you you said that women were not women men were arrested
you're very optimistic about domestic when did there turn those then you start optimistic idea of the trial you know you want to hear the verdict there's you know what's happened how did that change and where did you go for me optimistic and knowing what the deal was i think that the money that we walked into the court room and we could not be seated because of backup i think that is wearing my optimism to that downward turn and as the arab trial proceeded and as i watch the antics of them and their wives children and mother i have come here that when that treatment we working on getting i knew then that we didn't have a chance or so
he says i saw my moment and bryant i've seen it on tv for a minute and ryan request and after the trial and after the verdict had been given and they were asked how do they feel there's something to that matter and the role he said i'm just glad it's over and when they ask my home he repeated what brian had said they were very careful not to give additional and elation and they asked the women the same for a similar questions and their responses from very cryptic and lola got to one you know my lungs she said me too that's all she's that bad but they they were not going to let you see what they
felt whether or not they were afraid they they were determined not to let that show for a second because we need that but he says he's been a car and israel's actions and screaming and they were just having fun ride to stop and listen to some of the questions about yourself isn't there was still hope this building so on after the trial was there was no hope that after the trial even though they had been found not guilty there was still pope had not died because they had the answer to the kidnapping trial and he had already admitted that they can emit and that they took from my uncle's house and also that child was convened
i'll we just knew that justice was going to have to be done here but that trial was thrown out because they were in a different county known where the kidnapping occurred so that county had no jurisdiction over the case so they threw it out and most is right and willie reed went back to mississippi for this trial you know that or a sip it certainly took a lot of courage they had testified at the trial they in a statement their lives and now they're going back into line stand to testify again i know when he was thrown out to get out of mississippi and the best way they can they had no assistance getting them now
you also appeal to the federal government we went to washington won't certainly the president will undoubtedly responsible home did you know the gm hopes of a gala where we're in a period of time you did you know hopes that the federal government was now intervened oh yes i mean eisenhower was an office and now whole nation had come to turn to eisenhower because they thought he was a fan a family and i are no blacks who had never voted republican before turns in the eisenhower helped about him in london and i appealed to the president the president indeed outgoing he had a heart attack and he never responded to my telegram the next eli iran was
nicknamed the hospital he was the end i know that was the only response we have from the president with a heart attack everybody was concerned about his well being and no one was concerned about is giving a hand to help out with the emmett till case so there was no oh no oil no relief from the federal government no relief whatsoever but also appealed to j edgar hoover and he finally responded by saying they had to research the case in its entirety and no federal rules have been violated and therefore the federal government had no there was no way when they get into the case but at this time at the time that that there's still a
chance of a kidnapping charges being brought against him was when they brought out the news of lewis was tuesday not me during the trial itself if i remember correctly i thought it was ridiculous dr day of the kidnapping he was buried in the south of the trials over your head was that they were about to be there's a chance of a v and so you can tell you know what the news was here and there an end and how you hurry to a weakening the huge not be too was charged with not what happened all of that is fun and yet waiting to find out no one has ever tell me
what happened was senator eastland came out would be our story and then listen for a rape and murder there were people in his battalion whose wrote to me and talk to be on the phone and talk to jet magazine they said that the sale of railroad and they talked about him as being a giant of a man who was always laughing in getting and playing around and they could not envision him as being a murderer or a rapist but lewis was so he was so to rethink boxer and he made many with his fist and he was also the truth again though he lost money with his gambling that's one of the things that separated us is not getting home on friday with many to label on
until the next friday and out of little is not only was good as a boxer but he went send me the mail envelopes with sex in the mine to get treated for a month at a hundred dollars a piece and can you imagine the three or four hundred thousand man mint when the top wage my stepfather are making moves between twenty four and twenty six dollars a week if he were to retain clear studios wanted to be you it says it shows the kind of hello you know that the top level of the people in the system goes on as you can tell me this story i mean you know you had you had there and the government's an issue this is what you would you know would you believe
that you hear something different to get rid of paper did did somebody call and i didn't hear anything that they say this and other news i'm sure that i read it in the newspaper i am sure that came over television and over radio because there was complete coverage of the emmett till case and win though senator eastland no appeal to me army headquarters they tell him the whole story the story that they tell him with one that i had never heard before all i knew was the emmett till was given day and the costs of his death was willful misconduct i was never told a willful misconduct was i could not get an answer no matter how i try again who i appeal to they would not give me any further information sell my information came when the
eastland dug up their jerry lieber and why would why would senator series of days as senator from minnesota why would you go nature what was on his mind well he was trying to show that infantile was like his father on the emmett till was the one who was guilty for whatever he did to the white woman in the store that was visibly of proving that oh the murderers had a reason to do what they did was was it was just this thing you need to know his name was louis till you just a list of retired from nice till now it's still less to be doing
how do you think the two holy places in his chain can it change you i am certainly not a deep and the person on the way i was before him it was still i was completely dependent upon my mother and i looked for her to care for guardians of sort of ai my burdens of whatever had to be done and then all of a sudden i realized that i could know one and the moment it was up to me and it has made at stronger person me i have been able to live beyond my knees and say either the needs of others and i think i've been quite the force there now working towards those needs in building wise in girls are in their beaks beth instead
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
(c) 2003-2017 WGBH Educational Foundation
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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 November 28, 2023,
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. November 28, 2023. <>.
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