Civil Rights Expedition

January 20, 2009

The Courthouse

The Courthouse

The Social Media Expedition’s journey to historic Money, MS was nothing short of eye opening.  This MLK Jr. Day, several expedition members traveled deep into delta territory to explore the events surrounding the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-Year-Old African-American youth from Chicago.

Emmett’s murder is often overlooked as one of the great catalysts to the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s.  Our mission was to visit the sites that were significant leading up to and shortly following Till’s death, and hopefully, through Web 2.0 coverage, give this tragedy some well deserved exposure.  We left even more resolute to our goal than we came.

Bryant's Grocery and Meat Market

Bryant's Grocery and Meat Market

Our first stop on the journey was the Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market, now vacant and derelict, where Till allegedly whistled at the white store owner, Carolyn Bryant.  This kind of action was considered extremely taboo in a racially divided culture and raised the ire of Carolyn’s husband Roy Bryant, and his half brother, J.W. Milam.

We also made a brief stop at the remains of J.W. Milam’s former home.  His property served as the primary location for most of the actions surrounding Till’s murder.

Very nearby, was possibly the most impacting site on our journey.  It was the cotton barn at J.W. Milam’s plantation where Emmett Till was taken to be beaten, maimed, and killed.  It was easy to look into the shed outside the barn, and wonder what might have happened there.  Eventually a fan was taken from the cotton gin and tied to Till with barbed wire before dumping him into the Tallahatchie River.   The barn itself has been turned into a makeshift museum dedicated to Emmett Till and blues musician “Sonny Boy” Williamson.

Near the end of our exploration, we visited the courthouse where the, very brief, trial took place for Emmett’s murder, and the remnants of the hotel where the jury, who acquitted Milam and Bryant in less than an hour, stayed.

Thanks to those who encouraged us to make this trip. Special thanks to Joe Spake for his participation, many insights about The Delta along the way, and his Emmett Till blog post.

This is just the first of many Expeditionary trips.  The next event is our Tweetup this Friday at GPAC.  Find us on Facebook, and we’ll keep you informed on developing details.  We hope to see you in the conversation.

Creative Commons License
blogpost by lunaweb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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