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Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965$
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Davis W. Houck and David E. Dixon

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781604731071

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604731071.001.0001

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Mamie Till Bradley

Mamie Till Bradley

October 29, 1955, Bethel Ame Church

(p.17) Mamie Till Bradley
Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965

Davis W. Houck

David E. Dixon

University Press of Mississippi

Born on November 23, 1921, near Webb, Mississippi, Mamie Till Bradley became a heroine of the civil rights movement after making a brave and bold stand in connection with the brutal slaying of her only son, Emmett Till, in Mississippi in 1955. Bradley had her son’s body shipped back to Chicago and opened the casket so that everybody can see what had happened to him. On October 29, 1955, less than five weeks after the murder trial of J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant, the two white men accused of killing Emmett Till, Mamie Till Bradley addressed a jampacked crowd at a NAACP rally held at Bethel AME Church in Baltimore, Maryland. This chapter presents her speech, in which she graphically recounted her identification of her son’s body in a Chicago morgue and mentioned Willie Reed’s dramatic eyewitness testimony in the trial. Bradley concluded her speech by urging the audience to make a sacrifice for the NAACP and its mission.

Keywords:   civil rights movement, Emmett Till, Mississippi, murder, trial, Mamie Till Bradley, NAACP, rally, Baltimore, speech

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