The Death Of Emmett Till

Album: The Bootleg Series Volume 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (2010)
Play Video
  • "Twas down in Mississippi no so long ago,
    When a young boy from Chicago town stepped through a Southern door.
    This boy's dreadful tragedy I can still remember well,
    The color of his skin was black and his name was Emmett Till.

    Some men they dragged him to a barn and there they beat him up.
    They said they had a reason, but I can't remember what.
    They tortured him and did some evil things too evil to repeat.
    There was screaming sounds inside the barn, there was laughing sounds out on the street.

    Then they rolled his body down a gulf amidst a bloody red rain
    And they threw him in the waters wide to cease his screaming pain.
    The reason that they killed him there, and I'm sure it ain't no lie,
    Was just for the fun of killin' him and to watch him slowly die.

    And then to stop the United States of yelling for a trial,
    Two brothers they confessed that they had killed poor Emmett Till.
    But on the jury there were men who helped the brothers commit this awful crime,
    And so this trial was a mockery, but nobody seemed to mind.

    I saw the morning papers but I could not bear to see
    The smiling brothers walkin' down the courthouse stairs.
    For the jury found them innocent and the brothers they went free,
    While Emmett's body floats the foam of a Jim Crow southern sea.

    If you can't speak out against this kind of thing, a crime that's so unjust,
    Your eyes are filled with dead men's dirt, your mind is filled with dust.
    Your arms and legs they must be in shackles and chains, and your blood it must refuse to flow,
    For you let this human race fall down so God-awful low!

    This song is just a reminder to remind your fellow man
    That this kind of thing still lives today in that ghost-robed Ku Klux Klan.
    But if all of us folks that thinks alike, if we gave all we could give,
    We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live. Writer/s: BOB DYLAN
    Publisher: BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 1

  • AnonymousDuane Harms was the newly-hired bus driver who failed to stop his school bus at the railroad tracks near Greeley, Colorado, as was and is required of all busses in Colorado. He lived but 20 children died. Duane was found guilty and spent ONE YEAR in prison. Nope, no cliff but plenty of negligence. I’ve been a bus driver and those tracks can be a pain to stop at but it’s the law and this was a tragedy.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Gene Simmons of Kiss

Gene Simmons of KissSongwriter Interviews

The Kiss rocker covers a lot of ground in this interview, including why there are no Kiss collaborations, and why the Rock Hall has "become a sham."

Spooner Oldham

Spooner OldhamSongwriter Interviews

His keyboard work helped define the Muscle Shoals sound and make him an integral part of many Neil Young recordings. Spooner is also an accomplished songwriter, whose hits include "I'm Your Puppet" and "Cry Like A Baby."

Michael Sweet of Stryper

Michael Sweet of StryperSongwriter Interviews

Find out how God and glam metal go together from the Stryper frontman.

Did They Really Sing In That Movie?

Did They Really Sing In That Movie?Fact or Fiction

Bradley Cooper, Michael J. Fox, Rami Malek, Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow and George Clooney: Which actors really sang in their movies?

Daniel Lanois

Daniel LanoisSongwriter Interviews

Daniel Lanois on his album Heavy Sun, and the inside stories of songs he produced for U2, Peter Gabriel, and Bob Dylan.

Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues

Justin Hayward of The Moody BluesSongwriter Interviews

Justin wrote the classic "Nights In White Satin," but his fondest musical memories are from a different decade.