Today at 3p, the first marker of the Mississippi Freedom Trail will be unveiled at the site of the Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market in Money, in memory of Emmett Till. This is how the building looked when we were there in 2005:
The place where so much began. This store. In 1955 when 14-year-old Emmett Till came to Mississippi from Chicago to visit family, he had no idea what was to come.
This is a small excerpt from an article in the Missourian, from an event in Columbia where two members of Emmett’s family, a first and second cousin, who were with him that day at the store, spoke last month:
“I have a story to tell,” Wright said. “I am an eyewitness.”
Coming from the North, Till did not know the social customs of the South. One day, Till, Wright and Parker Jr. visited Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market in Money, Mississippi. When he came out of the store after shopping, Till whistled at Carolyn Bryant, a white woman and co-owner of the store with her husband, Roy Bryant.
“When Emmett whistled, it was like an alarm. We couldn’t believe that he did it,” Parker Jr. said. “Still, it’s not something you should get killed for.”
“We don’t tell these stories to start up any animosity or bad will,” he said. “We tell these stories to tell history and the truth.”
“He didn’t die in vain because we are here because of him,” he said.
Wright began the night saying that he hoped the story would make the students in the crowd interested in practicing law.
“It didn’t start the civil rights movement. It transformed it,” Wright said. “It brought white men, white women, Jews and Gentiles together.”
This atrocity had major repercussions. Years later, Rosa Parks said it was Emmett Till she thought of when deciding to keep her seat on the bus in Montgomery.