Civil Rights: Emmett Till Case

In August 1955, a fourteen year old African American boy from Chicago named Emmett Till went to visit relatives near Money, Mississippi. While he had experienced racial discrimination in his hometown of Chicago, he was unaccustomed to the severe segregation he encountered in Mississippi. Soon after talking in "too friendly a manner" with a young white woman in a store, he was kidnapped in the night at gunpoint and brutally murdered by two white men. He was badly beaten before being shot and the corpse was nearly unrecognizable. His mother insisted on an open casket funeral in Chicago and news of Emmett Till's murder shocked America and the world. An all-white jury failed to convict the accused murderers, adding a further sense of injustice. The case is viewed as a turning point in the civil rights movement because of the notoriety it gave to the plight of African Americans in the South.
  1. Documents
  2. Photographs
  3. Additional Information
Telegram, Chicago Defender to DDE Re: Emmett Till Case, September 1, 1955 (PDF) [DDE's Records as President, Alphabetical File, Box 3113, Emmett Till; NAID Number 12192715]

Reply to Chicago Defender From J. William Barba, September 2, 1955 (PDF) [DDE's Records as President, Alphabetical File, Box 3113, Emmett Till; NAID Number 12196600]

Telegram, Mamie Bradley (Mother of Emmett Till) to DDE, September 2, 1955 (PDF) [DDE's Records as President, Alphabetical File, Box 3113, Emmett Till; NAID Number 12196780]

Document, Sherman Adams to Department of Justice, September 6, 1955 (PDF) [DDE's Records as President, Alphabetical File, Box 3113, Emmett Till; NAID Number 12197846]

Letter, J. Edgar Hoover to Dillon Anderson, September 6, 1955 (PDF) [White House Office of the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, FBI Series, Box 3, FBI T-Z (1); NAID Number 12209236]

Memo, Maxwell Rabb, Re Negro Communist Leader "Lightfoot," September 12, 1955 (PDF) [Maxwell Rabb Papers, Box 51, Mississippi; NAID Number 12224549]

Letter, J. Edgar Hoover to Dillon Anderson, September 13, 1955 (PDF) [White House Office of the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, FBI Series, Box 3, FBI T-Z (1); NAID Number 12209235]

Night Letter, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, AFL to Attorney General Brownell, September 28, 1955 (PDF) [DDE's Records as President, Alphabetical File, Box 3113, Emmett Till; NAID Number 12196988]

Memorandum, From National Administrative Committee Re: Emmett Louis Till Lynching, September 29, 1955 (PDF) [White House Office of the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, FBI Series, Box 3, FBI T-Z (1); NAID Number 12224523]

Letter, Publisher of Pittsburgh Courier to E Frederic Morrow, September 29, 1955 (PDF) [DDE's Records as President, Alphabetical File, Box 3113, Emmett Till; NAID Number 12197279]

Letter, J. Edgar Hoover to Dillon Anderson, October 11, 1955 (PDF) [White House Office of the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, FBI Series, Box 3, FBI T-Z (1); NAID Number 12224527]

Resolution Passed by the Norwegian Students' Association, October 15, 1955 (PDF) [DDE's Records as President, Alphabetical File, Box 3113, Emmett Till; NAID Number 12197140]

Letter, J. Edgar Hoover to Dillon Anderson, November 22, 1955 (PDF) [White House Office of the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, FBI Series, Box 3, FBI T-Z (1); NAID Number 12209237]

Memorandum for the Record, E. Frederick Morrow Re: Emmett Till, November 22, 1955 (PDF) [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 10, Civil Rights Official Memoranda, 1956-55; NAID Number 12224529]

Memo, Maxwell Rabb to Colonel Andrew Goodpaster Regarding Mail Received at White House Regarding Emmett Till, January 6, 1956 (PDF) [NAID Number 12224530]

Memorandum, J. Edgar Hoover to Dillon Anderson Regarding Communist Activity, February 8, 1956 (PDF) [White House Office of the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, FBI Series, Box 6, 1956 FBI Current Intelligence 3; NAID Number 12209238]

Memorandum, Maxwell Rabb to James Hagerty, October 23, 1956 (PDF) [DDE's Records as President, Alphabetical File, Box 3113, Emmett Till; NAID Number 12197515]

Memorandum, Maxwell Rabb to James Hagerty, October 24, 1956 (PDF) [DDE's Records as President, Alphabetical File, Box 3113, Emmett Till; NAID Number 12197671]