Friday, May 06, 2005

May they both rest in peace.

On this Mother's Day weekend I pause to remember Mamie Till Mobley, mother of Emmett Till. From the day he died in 1955 until the day of her own death in 2003, she fought for justice. She didn't live to see the case of her son's murder in Money, Miss., reopened last year, but I'm not sure it's not a blessing that she didn't live to see what's happening now.

The FBI wants to exhume the body. As if there could be any doubt about the cause of death. But no autopsy was performed, they say. As if that were news. Mamie Till Mobley insisted on making news in 1955, though, spreading the news of the horrible brutality her son had suffered. She insisted that the world see what had been done to her son. In her own words,

I decided that I would start with his feet, gathering strength as I went up. I paused at his mid-section, because I knew that he would not want me looking at him. But I saw enough to know that he was in tact. I kept on up until I got to his chin. Then I was forced to deal with his face. I saw that his tongue was choked out. The right eye was lying midway of his chest. His nose had been broken like someone took a meat chopper and broke his nose in several places. I kept looking and I saw a hole, which I presumed was a bullet hole, and I could look through that hole and see daylight on the other side. I wondered, "Was it necessary to shoot him"?

Mr. Rayner, she says, asked me, "Do you want me to touch the body up?" I said, "No. Let the people see what I have seen. I think everybody needs to know what had happened to Emmett Till."

More than 50,000 people viewed his open casket.

The cause of this child's death is quite well known: insensible racial hatred.

No comments: