Discrimination and segregation has been a part of our country for many years. Even to this day, minorities still face issues with racism. During the Civil Rights Movement, there were many brave women and men who stood up for the fight against discrimination. Emmett Till never got a chance to fight, because he was brutally murdered at age fourteen for simply speaking out to a white woman. Not many have heard of his story, and are unaware of what it meant to the movement itself. Emmett Till’s murder was the spark for a generation of people to commit their lives to social reform, however his name has yet to appear in your curriculum outline.
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Lynching was, unfortunately, common for this time. Emmett Till was not the first case, and was not the last either. However, his mother’s decision to have his funeral open casket left a large impact on everyone. Everyone who attended the funeral got to see what had happened to this fourteen year old boy, who was murdered for simply calling out to a white woman. Even those who did not attend the funeral were able to see images of his body, which were published by Jet Magazine. This itself was a big step in the Civil Rights Movement, because it opened the eyes of many who were not exposed to the issues blacks faced all their lives. The publication of those photographs made this case one of the first national lynching cases, and overall helped the Civil Rights Movement. Yet you still fail to mention his name in your curriculum?
Many big names have been mentioned throughout our classroom when discussing the Civil Rights Movement. Some included have been Martin Luther King Jr, and Rosa Parks. These are probably the most known contributors to the Civil Rights Movement, yet it is unfair to allow them to take all the credit. Rosa Parks was quoted on saying her sole inspiration for not removing herself from the bus seat when asked to move was Emmett Till. Many people before her had refused to moved and been arrested, but due to the overwhelming amount of attention Emmett Till’s murder received, Rosa Park’s actions had an impact. His death stayed in her mind and inspired her to fight back, as it did with many others.
It is important to include Emmett Till in the curriculum. His death was a pivotal point for the Civil Rights Movement. He did not have a chance to impact it any other way because he was brutally murdered before he had a chance to fully experience life. Not including him would be shameful, because he at least deserves to be known for what he went through, and how his murderers were able to walk free despite them later admitting to the crime. The death of Emmett Till is an important moment in history which gave newer generations reasons to fight. Because of his death, instances such as the one Rosa Parks was faced with, were beginning to be taken seriously. To say Emmett Till had no impact would be wrong, and shameful. Mentioning him would be the least you could do to honor his memory. I hope you realize his importance and impact to the Civil Rights Movement, and consider altering your curriculum outline to include him and his story.
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