Emmett Till remembered 60 years after brutal killing

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Emmett Till was remembered 60 years after his death Friday with a special ceremony and motorcade on Friday. (WLS)

Emmett Till was remembered 60 years after his death Friday with a special ceremony and motorcade on Friday. In 1955, the Chicago teenager was kidnapped and killed by segregationists while visiting Mississippi.

Parents of other young people killed in racially-motivated crimes are joining the Till family for a weekend of events in the Chicago area. Till would be 74 years old now, but to most, he's still the smiling little boy who was cut down in the middle of the night.

A small group of people from all across the country gathered Friday at the historic Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, where Till's mutilated body was displayed for all of the world to see. The Chicago teenager was beaten and shot 60 years ago for allegedly whistling at a white woman while visiting relatives in Mississippi.

On Friday, a procession of Till's family members and other victims of recent racially-tinged violence travelled from the church to Burr Oak Cemetery, where Till and his mother are now buried.

At the cemetery, dignitaries recognized the legacy that Emmett Till left and how his death so many years ago galvanized a nation and put a face on the atrocities being committed against black people. The racial tensions still resonate today; Sandra Bland's mother attended the services Friday. But mostly this was about the Till family. Wheeler Parker was with Emmett the night he was pulled out of bed and carried away and murdered.

"I've never been that afraid before in my life. And at 16, I was not trying to die... So you relive that, and wonder what could you have done?" Parker said.

This observance marks the beginning of a weekend filled with activities in Chicago aimed at remembering a young man's death and what it means to Americans today. His relatives here in Chicago say it's important that we reflect on that moment in history and remember a lively young man who could have done some great things.

"I just see him as this 14-year-old boy who never grew old and I just feel like my cousin is pleased and he's happy that we're honoring him and never forgetting him. And I kinda get full about it, you know. It just kind of makes you full of emotional, because he never got to grow old. And I just feel like I want to keep doing what I was taught to do by his mother," said Airickca Gordon-Taylor, a relative.

On Friday night, there will be a celebratory dinner and speakers from all over the world coming to Chicago. And this weekend, we will also learn more about a movie being produced by Chaz Ebert about Emmett Till's life.

Related Topics:
civil rightsmurderMississippiChicago - Downtown
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