[RERUN] EPISODE 51 A Life for a Whistle: Emmett Till and the Birth of the Civil Rights Movement
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“Until the philosophy Which hold one race superior and anotherInferiorIs finallyAnd permanentlyDiscreditedAnd abandonedEverywhere is war” — Bob Marley, War, inspired by a speech by Haile Selassie  “Emmett Till is dead and gone… Why can’t people leave the dead alone and quit trying to stir things up?” — Roy Bryant  “I think black peoples' reaction was so visceral. Everybody knew we were under attack and that attack was symbolized by the attack on a 14-year-old boy.” — Rose Jourdain  “The audience fell silent, wondering if Wright would risk his life to accuse a white man in open court. For a moment no one moved. Excruciating tension filled the room while people waited for Wright’s reply. Then, in one of the most dramatic moments in Mississippi trial history, Mose Wright, a poor Black sharecropper, stood up, raised his arm, pointed at Milam, a white man, and said, ‘There he is.’” — Chris Crowe  By 1955, in United States, people liked to say that the worst racial abuses belonged to the past—that the culture that had led to nearly 5,000 people getting lynched between the end of Reconstruction and the mid-1940s no longer existed. But then a 14-year old boy from Chicago jokingly whistled at a white lady in Mississippi, and what followed was a familiar script: the flashing of guns in the middle of the night, kidnapping, torture, African Americans looking for their relatives where bodies were normally dumped, and a justice system that was anything but just. What was not part of the familiar script was Mamie Till’s choice that led to a public funeral attended by tens of thousands, and—many people argued—that lit the spark for the birth of the Civil Rights Movement.  Among other things, in this episode: The culture of lynching and the gutsy Southern ladies standing up against it  How ‘Brown vs. Board of Education’ set the South on fire  Paranoia over integration and Communist plots  William Faulkner and the fear at the roots of white supremacy  Getting away with murder and boasting about it  How white supremacists won a battle and lost the war But the craziest thing in this whole story is realising this happened not so long ago…  If you feel generous and enjoy History on Fire, please consider joining my Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/historyonfire to access plenty of bonus content.  If you’d like to go to Japan for a historical tour with yours truly as a guide, please check out https://geeknationtours.com/tours/signature-battlefield-series-classic-samurai-from-the-gempei-war-to-the-mongol-invasions-2023/ Big thank you to True Classic for sponsoring this episode. For incredibly soft, great-fitting t-shirts, please enjoy a 25% discount at @trueclassic with promo code HISTORYONFIRE at trueclassictees.com/HISTORYONFIRE  Big thank you to BetterHelp for sponsoring this episode. Visit https://www.BetterHelp.com/HOF to get 10% off your first month.  Big thank you to Athletic Greens for sponsoring this episode. Athletic Greens is going to give you a FREE 1 year supply of immune-supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit https://athleticgreens.com/HOF 
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