Picture this: a society split into two separate groups, two different colors, two opposing rights, the blacks and the whites. The 1900s was an important century in American history; from the funding to the NCCAP and the countless race riots to the invention of the modern television, this time, hit many landmarks that bettered some in the society and was the downfall for others. Although the invention of modern television and printed media played a huge part in the struggle for racial equality in America, but what happened to Emmett Till and Rosa Parks started the Civil Rights movement.
Since the beginning of time, black and whites lived separate lives; the whites being the privileged of the two. African Americans were first brought over in 1619 to help the production of lucrative crops. This lasted for over a century and slavery till it was abolished in 1863, the same exact day the thirteenth amendment came out. Although now it was illegal to own a slave anywhere in the United States mistreatment of African Americans continued. They experience discrimination everywhere they turned, but there were areas they could turn to live freer lives.
The North accepted them more than the South who saw free blacks as a threat and something that needed to be controlled in anyway necessary. At the beginning of the 1900’s Blacks left the South to the North looking for better conditions. Racism reached a high point in the South with Howsare 2 lynchings, segregation, discrimination, and anti-black violence. This made it hard for the people living in this area to make a stand that the NAACP was waiting for. When Rosa Parks decided to not give up her seat an uproar started and the NAACP started a bus boycott.
Rosa Parks claimed that the NAACP was considering filing a lawsuit against Montgomery bus segregation, but needed a strong case (Parks 110). That’s where Rosa came in; during this time, African Americans vastly outnumbered the Caucasians when it came to riding the bus. It was reported that 50,000 African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama and the majority of them rode the bus (Parks 109). When Rosa decided to not stand up on December 1st, 1955 and the NAACP started the bus boycott, it impacted the whole bus system because it downed them in money (Parks #).
The African-Americans finally had the power to control the white society, once they tasted the power they never wanted to go back. This is the time when many things changed for the African Americans. In many areas of the United States, people have grown accustomed to the mistreatment of blacks, especially in the South. It was a part of everyone’s daily lives for as long as they could remember so they were unaware exactly how bad it had gotten. People such as Emmett Till who were completely blind as to know how to act around white people in the South is what cost him his life.
His death warned people of the future without stopping the racism resulting in a spark and increase of resistance in everyone including the whites because of their emotional outrage. When the announcement of Emmett’s court date occurred, it triggered widely publicized reactions in North and South (Crowe #). People were furious that these two men could kill and Howsare 3 innocent boy and not even be accused. However, when people saw his body in an open casket photo in Jet magazine and what they had done to him. It pushed many people who stood aside and watched directly into the fight (PBS).
The difference between this case and the many others that happened is that the killing of Emmett Till made news around the world, but the fact on why he was killed [whistling white woman] made it huge news (Crowe #). Therefore, in my opinion, the momentum of Emmett’s murder kick started the next part of the civil rights movement leading to Rosa Parks. Television gave a lot of coverage to the Civil Rights Movement. For example, the media covered events from the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the murder of Emmett Till. During the time, modern television sets were available in most of peoples homes, and viewing jumped from 56% to 92% (Paley).
Television allowed the world to have a visual and become informed so much faster than in the newspaper. Some people might even say that the invention of the modern television and the printed media was what started the civil rights movement because people could visually see what was happening right when it happened rather that read about it a couple days prior. Yes, the media definitely helped people hear about news much faster, but it’s not like the Emmett and Rosa cases were the first to happen when television came out.
There were several cases before this came out; what attracted people to these cases was the brutality of them, and how ridiculous they were. Without these two cases, the media wouldn’t have reported on anything and people would have still been stuck in the shadows. Myrlie Evers, civil rights Howsare 4 activist responded to reporters that the Emmett Till case “shook the foundations of Mississippi” because it told people that not even a child is safe from racism and death in the United States.
Transition: The Emmett Till case had such a huge impact because it showed that no one was safe; that someone could be murdered for stupid reasons and the person who committed the heinous crime would not be charged. That is what kept people watching, they couldn’t believe the stupidity of the trail and was anxious to know what would happen to Milan and Bryant. Headlines carried the Emmett Till trial and result around the world, news spreading fast. Soon after the Supreme Court was confronted with the infamous case.
As they studied it they otice exactly what the South was up to. It opened their eyes to how bad that area of the United States and that they were carrying on with the old way of life [Jim Crow laws] and their racial injustice seemed like it was accepted and normal (History). Once the trail was over and the result spread around the world on the television and in newspapers and magazines, many people were furious with the outcome to not accuse the men of kidnapping (History). On September 23, the court had an all white jury and very few black witnesses: it was truly in the whites favor.
As the trial continued the jury discussed the verdict for less than an hour and came to the conclusion that the body was so unrecognizable therefore they couldn’t fully admit that the body was Emmett, even though he was wearing the ring that is father gave him when he was found floating in the water (History). The people who sided with Milan and Bryant didn’t even want to do that, a spectator named Strider commented after the trial that that was the last thing he wanted to do.
To defend those “peckerwoods,” but he didn’t Howsare 5 ave a choice since they were white. It would have been a disgrace in the community to side against the whites if you are white yourself. The senseless murder Emmett Till shocked the split society and paved the perfect path for Rosa Parks, her act of disobedience finally ignited the fire that has been on simmer since the 1900s. Knowing all the facts about both cases and the invention of modern television, I truly believe that what happened to Rosa Parks and Emmett Till started the Civil Rights movement.