Tallahatchie – Places

Sumner Courthouse

Sumner Courthouse

On September 23, 1955, two white men, Roy Bryant and JW Milam, were acquitted at the Sumner Courthouse of murdering 14-year-old Emmett Till. Till’s mother Mamie Till and uncle Moses Wright courageously testified in the 5-day trial, which drew international attention. The most dramatic moment came when Moses Wright was asked who abducted Emmett, and he stood and pointed at the defendants saying, “Dar he.” A jury of 12 white men found the two ‘not guilty’ after deliberating for only 66 minutes. Bryant and Milam later confessed to the murder.

Video of the first Emmett Till historical marker being unveiled in front of the Sumner Courthouse:

These videos can also be viewed here.

Other videos mentioning Sumner Courthouse:

The videos can also be viewed here.

Sources:

http://www.etmctallahatchie.com/documents/drivingtour.pdf

Delta Inn

The Delta Inn was built circa 1920 in Sumner as a railroad and residence hotel by Mr. Zachariah Edward Jennings. The jury in the Bryant/ Milam trial for the racially motivated murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till stayed here in September 1955. During the trial, the KKK burned a cross in front of the Inn.

Sources:

http://www.etmctallahatchie.com/documents/drivingtour.pdf

Tutwiler Funeral Home

On August 31, 1955, Woodrow Jackson prepared Emmett Till’s body here at the Tutwiler Funeral Home to return to Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, in Chicago. Emmett’s uncle, Crosby Smith, had to sign a document promising not to open the casket. Once the body reached Chicago, Mamie Till-Mobley defied that order, promising to show the world what was done to her son. The public outcry over the condition of Emmett’s mutilated body is considered to be one of the main sparks that ignited the Civil Rights Movement.

Videos that mention Tutwiler Funeral Home:

These videos can also be viewed here.

Sources:

http://www.etmctallahatchie.com/documents/drivingtour.pdf

Glendora Gin

An old metal fan used for ginning cotton was taken from this gin, the Glendora Gin Company, by Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam. After shooting 14-year-old Emmett Till in the head, the men attached the fan, weighing about 70 pounds, to Till’s mutilated corpse with barbed wire before dumping him adjacent to the Tallahatchie River. The old gin now houses the Emmett Till Historic Intrepid Center (see glendorams.com).

See also:
Murder of Emmett Till

Sources:

http://www.etmctallahatchie.com/documents/drivingtour.pdf
https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=89882
https://glendorams.com/

Milam’s House

Milam's House

This site was the home of JW Milam, who with his half-brother, Roy Bryant, murdered 14-yearold Emmett Till on August 28, 1955. The men had been acquitted for the murder 4 months before confessing to journalist William Bradford Huie, during which Milam claimed he and his brother initially beat Till in the barn behind the house. Milam forced some of his black employees to wash out the bloody truck, which had been used to carry Till’s body to the Tallahatchie River. He later admitted to burning Till’s clothes in the backyard.

Sources:

http://www.etmctallahatchie.com/documents/drivingtour.pdf

River Site

On August 31, 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till’s body was found 2.3 miles to the southeast of the marker. A fisherman discovered the body in the Tallahatchie River, where it had been dumped, presumably as a warning to the black community. A cotton gin fan had been tied around Till’s neck with barbed wire. Till’s uncle, Moses Wright, identified the swollen and mutilated body only because he recognized a ring Emmett work on his finger. The FBI later confirmed the identity through DNA testing. To reach the marker, drive north from Glendora on Swan Lake Road. In about 2 miles, turn right onto Sharkey Road, and then cross the bridge over the Tallahatchie River. The marker is at the intersection of Sharkey Road and River Road.

Sources:

http://www.etmctallahatchie.com/documents/drivingtour.pdf

Money Store

Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market, owned by 21-year-old Carolyn and 24-year-old Roy Bryant, was housed here and primarily served sharecroppers in the area. On August 24, 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till came to the store with friends to buy refreshments. While there, Till whistled at Carolyn Bryant. This act violated the white Southern taboo that prevented sexual relationships between white women and black males. The event precipitated Till’s kidnapping and murder, by Roy Bryant and JW Milam, Bryant’s brother-in-law, and other collaborators. Both Roy Bryant and JW Milam were acquitted for these crimes but confessed to them four months after the trial. Following the trial, many of the store’s clients boycotted, and the store went bankrupt as a result.

Sources:

http://www.etmctallahatchie.com/documents/drivingtour.pdf