The Delta: Tallahatchie River (1955)

The Tallahatchie River flows 85 miles in the Mississippi Delta, has been mentioned in numerous Blues songs and played an important part in the saga of Emmett Till.  On the morning of August 28, 1955, Emmett Till’s Mississippi family went to the Leflore County Sheriff’s Department to report Emmett’s abduction earlier that morning.  The Leflore County Sheriff brought Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam in for questioning, and the two men were arrested on kidnapping charges.  Two early Mississippi Civil Rights leaders, Medgar Evers and Amzie Moore, arrived in the area to search for Emmett Till and disguised themselves as cotton pickers to search for clues and interview witnesses.

Three days after Emmett’s abduction, his body was found by two boys fishing along the Tallahatchie River, just north of Glendora.  Emmett’s swollen and disfigured body was identified by a silver ring he was wearing with the initials “L.T.” and “May 25, 1943”.  The ring belonged to Emmett’s father, Louis Till.

The exact location along the Tallahatchie River is well marked today.  The historical marker which identifies the location is defaced with many bullet holes, suggesting that not everyone has learned from the events of 60 years ago.

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