Hill Country History

Glendora (1955)

Glendora Gin

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.