The Delta: Glendora (1955)

Glendora is a small town in the Mississippi Delta, which played an important role in the murder of Emmett Till in 1955.  In the early morning of August 28, 1955, Roy Bryant and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, arrived suddenly at the home of Moses Wright.  Furious that the young Emmett Till had “disrespected” his wife days earlier, Bryant forced Emmett out of bed at gunpoint, threatening Moses Wright and the other family members in the house with murder if they tried to interfere.  Bryant and Wright drove Emmett away from his Mississippi family, who never saw the young man alive again.

What happened throughout the rest of the morning of August 28 has never been clear.  It is likely Bryant and Milam took Emmett to the Buchanan Farm in nearby Drew, which was managed by Milam, where the two men severely beat Emmett in a small storage garage.  Emmett was probably still alive when the two men drove back to Glendora, J.W. Milam’s hometown.  It was in a storage shed behind Milam’s house where Emmett was again beaten nearly to death, before he was finally shot to death.  The two murderers, worried about what they had just done, walked next door to the Glendora Gin, where they stole a 70-pound fan and used the heavy object to tie around Emmett’s body, before throwing the fan and Emmett’s body into the nearby Tallahatchie River.

Moses Wright stayed up all night and into the early morning, waiting in vain for Emmett Till to return home.

The Buchanan Farm storage building and the Glendora Gin are still standing today.  The Gin is now the Emmett Till Historic Intrepid Center, a local museum dedicated to the Emmett Till murder.  J.W. Milam’s house and the storage shed are long gone, but their location is well marked.

2 thoughts on “The Delta: Glendora (1955)

  1. Lynn Shurden

    Your report that the Till murder (beating) took place on the Clint Shurden farm is incorrect. It was reported in a Memphis newspaper that it took place there but was corrected the following day. It is very well known in Drew that it took place on the farm that was owned by a Sturdivant but farmed by Milam. This was across the bayou and west of the Shurden farm. In fact Clint had an employee who was black that testified in Sumner that he in fact heard the beating early one morning as he crossed the bayou to a little country store. Clint took this man to Sumner to testify in the trial and stayed with him each day because Clint feared for the man’s safety. Clint was my husband’s father and my husband was a teenager at the time. It is unfortunate that this information on your publication is incorrect. However, it has been my experience that once something is published, even if a correction is made later on, the first published info is cited. My late husband and I did extensive research regarding this matter before his death, and it is so sad that the info is still being reported incorrectly.

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