The tragedy of Emmett Till still haunts us some fifty-five years after his horrific murder. In Jim Crow Mississippi, after some reports state that he “whistled at a white woman,” Emmitt was taken from his relative’s home at night, viciously beaten, and shot. The outrage of a nation bore down, and the Civil Rights movement was sparked. He was only 14 years old.
Two white men were charged but acquitted of Emmitt’s murder.
Fast forward to November 2010. A house party intended for just a few celebrants of a teenager’s birthday, grew out of control to over eighty people.
A fight breaks out between two women and two men. Arguing amongst them built up to a woman hitting one of the men. Instead of hitting her back, the man said that he’d hit the next male who walked by.
Enter Bobby Tillman.
He’s viciously stomped and beaten to death, just because he was the next to walk by. He was only 18 years old.
Four black youths were arrested and have been charged with his murder.
For some reason, the word till in both of these young men’s name made me consider:
Would there have been any difference in the response of the nation, had Tillman’s killers been white?
What a difference in the years since Till. The hate-groups of the Jim Crow South, and even neo hate mongers seem to have an unwitting ally in the urban crimes of today.
We are killing each other.
The definition of the word *till* in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, given as a verb, means to work by plowing, sowing,and raising crops: cultivate.
As a noun, till means a money drawer in a store or bank.
Finally, til, means the same as until, when used as a preposition.
A deeper tilling is needed in our community. There’s death on the vine instead of blossoming of our youth. Cultivate.
Our moral till is empty if we can stand around and watch someone get stomped to death. Let’s be about it-stop the violence.
‘Til we realize that we have a complete obligation to help those that need our help in right, a conviction to stand up to wrong, and the courage to live our Faith, we march.
We march further and further away from the promise, the dream.
Jones, My Opinion
RIP Emmitt and Bobby