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Political Science - Eyes on the Prize Submission - On August 28, 1955, Emmet Til's body was found lying in the river.

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Heather Johnson Political Science Professor Ron Ziegler Eyes on the Prize Submission On August 28, 1955, Emmet Til's body was found lying in the river. Two local men were arrested and charged with murder. This was a significant event during the 50's because it was very rare that a black man could press charges on a white person. Mose Wright was the uncle of Emmet Til. He said that the two men came to his door and asked if he had 2 boys from Chicago. They did this because earlier on, Emmet had walked into a store and said "bye baby" to a white woman. This was considered talking fresh. Emmet didn't know any better because he was from up north. His body was found maliciously beaten and it was barely recognizable. Emmet's mother insisted on the body being shipped back up north for an open casket funeral. The picture of his casket was published in Jet Magazine. Roy Bryandt and the girl's brother-in-law were the one's arrested for committing this horrible crime. During the court case the blacks were forced to sit together and away from everyone else. It took the jury one hour to find these men not guilty. ...read more.


More and more freedom rides continued and on the first occasion, mobs firebombed the bus and blocked the exit. 12 riders were hospitalized and the bus was of course destroyed. Gov. John Patterson of AL said, "Stay home, fools!" The FBI had information that the busses were going to be attacked but did nothing. Patterson refused to provide protection for these riders. 40 miles away from Montgomery there was no protection for these riders. MLK telephoned Kennedy to tell of the violence. Patterson then said he couldn't guarantee the safety of MLK Jr. George C. Wallace was the governor of Montgomery Alabama in 1963. He was strict, severe, a segregationist, and a racist. He was closely affiliated with Eugene "Bull" Connor. "Bull" Connor was a KKK member and the commissioner of public safety in Alabama at the time. Also, during this time the freedom riders were attacked on Mother's day. People looked upon it as these students ruined mothers day and disgraced them or some nonsense like that. SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and SCLC (Southern Christ Leadership Council) were two student groups that fought for civil rights. These two organizations at one time spawned a rivalry for one another because SNCC supposedly wanted more attention. ...read more.


Civil rights workers invaded the state. As soon as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed blacks lined up to register to vote. They were told to move to the sidewalk. Less than 1% of blacks were able to register to vote. Sheriff Jim Clark arrested Amelia Bointon, a highly respected community leader during this time. This caused 105 teachers to protest down at the courthouse (Teacher's March). This occurred in Selma, AL. Clark was confronted in the courthouse about his brutality towards blacks. He said he didn't know what they were talking about. The Selma to Montgomery march was a response to Jimmy Lee Jackson's death. A state trooper shot Jimmy because he wanted to protect his mother. Marchers were beaten. One white that marched with the blacks was badly injured. He was told there were no doctors for "people like him". SCLC opposed the march but 600 people gathered to march anyway. The marchers crossed over the Edmund Pettus Bridge and there were state troopers waiting for them on the other side. The marchers were ordered by Wallace to stop or brutality and tear gas would be enforced. MLK Jr. asked if they could sit down and pray, which they did. He then ordered the marchers to get up and turn around to avoid the fight. SNCC called this turn around a sell-out. Stokly Carmichael of SNCC withdrew from the Selma Campaign. ...read more.

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