1955 photograph of the mutilated body of 14 year-old Emmett Till, published in JET Magazine
Young Emmett was visiting family in a small town in Mississippi, and as he was leaving a store he spoke to the woman behind the counter, the wife of the owner. She was a white woman, he was a black teenager in the South. Not long after that, the store owner and his half-brother took Emmett from his great-uncle’s house, took him to a barn, shot him, beat him, gouged out one of his eyes, and threw his body in a river. The murderers were acquitted by a jury of white men, and protected by double jeopardy, admitted to the crime in a magazine a year later. His mother, Mamie, ignored those who told her to not open Emmett’s closed casket. She insisted on an open-casket funeral, so the world could see what had been done to her son.