My Name Is Emmett Till

Album: Hard Bargain (2011)
  • In 1955, the 14-year-old African-American Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi after he was seen flirting with a white woman, 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant. The trial attracted a vast amount of press attention. Bryant's husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam were acquitted of Till's kidnapping and murder, but months later, protected by double jeopardy, they admitted to killing him in a magazine interview. Till's murder is noted as one of the leading events that motivated the African-American Civil Rights Movement. This song finds Harris recounting the story in a heartbreakingly plain-spoken narrative, told from the murdered victim's perspective.
  • Other references to Emmett Till in popular music include John Coltrane's "Bakai," whose title was used in memory of the murder victim. Also in his single "Through The Wire," Kanye West raps that he looked like Emmett Till after he'd been in a car accident.

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