January 19, 2004

Susan Klopfer Shares

Susan Klopfer stopped by this blog a while ago, leaving a nice comment about the Emmett Till murder. I followed her link to an intriguing site: her upcoming book on two murders in Mississippi in 1955. She's posted the first chapter unedited. Take a look:

Uncivil Rites: Two Murders Where the Rebels Roost

Few Delta towns have yet reached a point where blacks and whites can celebrate any civil rights events or heroes openly as they do in Jackson or other populated regions. In Belzoni, a granite block with Dr. Lee's name is solidly placed at the beginning of a city street named after him, in a poor neighborhood, and there are no signs of vandalism to either the block or street sign.

But no other words are etched on the granite that tells who he was or why he deserves the memorial. Around this town, colorful statues of catfish appear throughout the business district, with signs explaining the city's acclaimed status of Catfish Capital of the World. At the courthouse are statues of veterans of all three wars - WWI, WWI and the Civil War and etched into the cement are words of support for wartime heroes.

Just three weeks after Rev. Lee was killed, a 14-year-old Chicago boy visiting his Delta grandparents for a week was kidnapped from their home in Money, brutally tortured and murdered in a barn outside of Drew, and his body dumped in the Tallahatchie River outside of Marks for allegedly making sexual comments to a store-owner's wife.

Two of Emmett Till's confessed murderers were arrested but never convicted, and it could be that not all of the lynching party were even arrested. Till's name has become synonymous with Civil Rights in Mississippi; there are no monuments to him anywhere in the Delta, and the old brick, vine-covered building in "Money" where the alleged crime was initiated, is crumbling down.

Posted by ronn at January 19, 2004 11:41 PM