Saturday, July 2, 2011

Preserving The Historic Emmett Till Landmark: Roy Bryant's Store

MSNBC reported in an article, "Preserving a tragic civil rights landmark: Some in Mississippi Delta push to save store at heart of Emmett Till case": MONEY, Miss. — The fading, whitewashed brick walls of the old Bryant Grocery & Meat Market store are crawling with vines, and the roof caved in long ago.

But some civic leaders consider it a significant piece of Mississippi civil rights history, and they want to see it preserved before it is too late.
The store in the Mississippi Delta is where black teenager Emmett Till is said to have wolf-whistled at white shopkeeper Carolyn Bryant in August 1955. The 14-year-old was kidnapped, tortured and killed a few days later in a crime that helped set the civil rights movement in motion.
State Sen. David Jordan says the state or private investors should buy the dilapidated building and rehabilitate it. But Jordan says the man who now owns the property is asking an exorbitant price.

“Everybody is concerned about this structure — not so much the structure itself, but the history of what happened here,” says Jordan, who is black.

Revived interest in the case

Interest in the Till slaying has been revived in the past two years, since the FBI reopened an investigation. Federal prosecutors said recently that they are not pursuing charges, and the FBI has given its files to District Attorney Joyce Chiles. She has not said whether she will pursue charges against anyone still alive who might have participated in the crime.


Till was kidnapped from his uncle’s home in the dead of night four days after the encounter at the store. Three days later, his mutilated body was found in the muddy Tallahatchie River, weighted down with a cotton gin fan.

His nose was crushed. His left eye was missing, and his right eye was dangling on his cheek. A hole was blown in his right temple. Most of his teeth were gone. The body was identified only by a ring he was wearing.
His mother held an open-casket funeral in Chicago, shocking the public with the sight of her son’s battered body.

Suspects confessed to murder

Roy Bryant, and his half brother, J.W. Milam

Carolyn Bryant’s husband, Roy Bryant, and his half brother, J.W. Milam, stood trial on murder charges weeks later. After 67 minutes of deliberations, the all-white jury found the men innocent. They later confessed to the crime in a paid interview in Look magazine. Both have since died of cancer.

Roy Bryant, and his half brother, J.W. Milam

Jordan says the Bryant store closed shortly after the killing and has been boarded up ever since. It is now owned by Harry Tribble, whose home sits about 100 yards away. Tribble is a son of one of the jurors who acquitted Milam and Roy Bryant.

Jordan says a local businessman offered to buy the store from Tribble last year for $50,000, but Tribble asked for significantly more. Tribble did not return repeated calls. His wife, Adrian, told The Associated Press in 2004 that her husband wanted to turn building into a civil rights museum.
Roy Bryant, and his half brother, J.W. Milam

Hank Holmes, director of the state Department of Archives and History, recently traveled to Money — about 100 miles northwest of Jackson — to look at the old store. Holmes suggests Delta residents form a group to buy and renovate the place before it falls in on itself.

“I think there is something to be said for the local community retaining its sense of ownership in its local history,” Holmes says.

No historical markers
Byrant's Store from 2010 in Money, Mississippi

Folks who want to see the store nowadays practically need a tour guide. There are no historical markers, though the state is considering erecting a sign to at least let people know where to tap their brakes on the lonely stretch of road.

Money consists of little more than a tiny collection of homes, a cotton gin, and a post office in a single-wide mobile home. Till’s body was found several miles away, in a different county.

The store is about five miles up the road from one of three reputed gravesites of the blues legend Robert Johnson. It is a simple marble headstone where pilgrims leave offerings of cigarette lighters, weathered coins and Gibson guitar picks.

Bryant's Store in 1994, Money, Mississippi

Jordan was 19 when Till was slain, and he and some college friends attended the trial.

“After this happened,” Jordan says, “we were not afraid anymore. It ignited in us something we didn’t know we had — that is, the courage to stand up for what’s right.”

43 comments:

  1. to everyone that has read this and seen the horrible pictures of this fine young man let it be a reminder of the evils that men to to each other. For GOd has made was all equally

    ReplyDelete
  2. We brought black people to the USA for slaves lets send
    them back home free to Africa so they get a change to build
    the home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "we" and "lets send them back home free to Africa so they get a change to buid the home" (sic)?

      this post is laced with racism. in 2013, people still haven't changed. shameful, man, shameful.

      Delete
    2. "we" and "lets send them back home free to Africa so they get a change to buid the home" (sic)?

      Again shameful. Are folks ignorate or again lacking in knowledge: African Americans amd Native Americans was here an extended period of time long before most Anglo-Saxon and their descendants today. So if anyone should go back to their ancestral beginnings its Ango-Saxons----Don't know what history book your reading--But's it's incorrect.

      Delete
    3. To anonymous first of all its slavery, second of all we are already free, and third the word chance not change. To say your ancestor have always been free you can not make a complete sentence nor can you spell. Thats one of the post slavery opportunites that was given to former slave was the right to a free education something you have not taken advantage of because if you these ignorant comments. I think my people would have jump at the chance to go build Africa but they already had intelligent kings and queens hundred of centuries accomplished that. Its the barbaric scandinavian natives that could not build or learn to the degree Africans can. Learn the history of African then post your comment. ANONYMOUS

      Delete
    4. To Anonymous of 2013...........Still hating huh
      You must be riddled with cancer by now with
      all that hate still in your system...............Dam fool.

      Delete
    5. Only if you go back to europe or whatever continent your ancestors come from.

      Delete
    6. you chose to bring us here by force. Now, we are no longer slaves that have to jump at your every command, yes, africais the land of our ancestors, but we are aericans. Some of us may chose to go to Africa to visit and or stay. That is our choice not yours. FYI slavery ended in 1865. I know you probably wished it did not. Sorry! So, i beg your pardon, you can not send us anywhere. Free or otherwise. Anyway, we still did not get our 40 acres and a mule. We can never be compesated for the free labor, the cheap labor of black people who America was built on the backs of. Now, you want to send us to Africa. You have a better shot at sending us to the moon on the starship Enterprise. Stop tripping lol!!:-) :-) :-)

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  8. It is unthinkable that those bigotted hateful monsters were
    able to walk away with murder, blood in their hands, for such a brutal, and heinous occurance. They should have paid for
    their crime, even if it was fifty years later. I feel like all
    of humanity suffered a huge setback, in letting these animals
    go free, and to boast about it,and make money, telling the
    story to LOOK magazine, is like they committed a second crime,
    and LOOK magazine, SHAME on you for paying these criminals money to begin with! You will pay dearly, I have no doubt on JUGEMENT day...........they are probably burning eternally in
    HELL!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I stumbled on this site in 2011 and came to find out what it meant. Isn't it more symbolic to let the place sink into the ground, signifying the slow but constant progress in racial reconciliation?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Read Cash's book.."The Mind of the South." Much as NOT changed in the good ole' south. They still brag about "the stars and bars," and how Neeeeegros....have "taken over white america." Emmett Till's brutal murder reminds us of the unchanged southern attitude towards blacks. Blacks may vote, may hold political office,..but they are still hated by most white southerners.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'D FIND THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS GRAVE AND STICK 6 STICKS OF DYNAMITE AND BLOW THEIR ASS UP AND HALF THE CEMETERY WERE THOSE DEVIL MOTHERFUCKERS BURIED !!!

      Delete
    2. I'D FIND THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS GRAVE AND STICK 6 STICKS OF DYNAMITE AND BLOW THEIR ASS UP AND HALF THE CEMETERY WERE THOSE DEVIL MOTHERFUCKERS BURIED !!!

      Delete
    3. I'D FIND THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS GRAVE AND STICK 6 STICKS OF DYNAMITE AND BLOW THEIR ASS UP AND HALF THE CEMETERY WERE THOSE DEVIL MOTHERFUCKERS BURIED !!!

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  11. There is no way, if I were Tills parent, that these men would have ever lived to see another day. May they burn in HELL.

    ReplyDelete
  12. fuck this little nigger!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, you should get f---ed by a pedophile because of your childish mind yes, and pedophiles are sick and disgusting and so are you!

      Delete
  13. Your comment is like your life.....pathetic beyond all comprehension.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  14. Your comment is like your life.....pathetic beyond all comprehension.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only an evil sick person would make that remark what an idiot!!

      Delete
  15. I agree that the store should be turned into a historic landmark. It is a sad but powerful part of our history that is already hush hush as it is. I don't understand why alot of white people did what they did to our relatives and ancestors for so many years without any fear of remorse or backlash but now that we can stand up and be counted, they want to brush our dark past under the rug. It isn't going anywhere people so we might as well embrace it and educate as many people around us. To this day racism exists, it isn't going anywhere either.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Have you all read this article where Ray Tribble is interviewed and reveal that there was a lone "Guilty" vote that would have hung the Tills trial but the individual gave in to pressure. Below is the link:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/31/magazine/31TILL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. does not matter. The possibility of two white men getting convicted in 1955 Mississippi was 0/100. Sad to say. I have a better chance of hitting the $1.3 billion powerball on Wednesday.

      Delete
    2. Does not matter. Convict a white man in 1955 Mississippi. I have a better chance of hitting the $1.3 billion powerball jackpot on Wednesday. Thats.sad and joyous!

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  19. I am saddened and feel really ashamed that my 'fellow American's' can spew hateful unevolved trash freely. Reading the history of this most important segment of American history is sure to enlighten. If you are in-fact interested in discovering why our country is enthralled in racial unrest in 2014...take a look back to 1955 for the answer! I suggest www.emmetttills-secretwitness.com or read the book, Emmett Till's Secret Witness: FBI Confidential Source Speaks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I will read it. But the answer is, in order for someone to feel superior they need to have someone feel inferior. You can not have one without the other. But superior and inferior needs to be applied to things not people. Even if you win a gold medal ot superbowl you are not superior. Your performance is at that momrnt in time.

      Delete
  20. I attended school in money attended Wilkes elementary school in August 1960 an I used to sneak across the railroad tracks to buy candy from Bryant grocery never knowing what had taken place there in 1955 an I think it should be preserved for future generations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How did you find the people of Money when you were there? While I understand that in 1960 there was rampant racism, I wonder if you experienced/saw and change in people from what happened to Emmett? There was no talk of what happened when you were there, or any sense of shame or contrition?

      Delete
    2. Unfortunately, the building is on the list of historical civil rights buildings in danger of being lost. I have watched the PBS documentary about Emmett and listened to Simeon Wright talk about how it would have been impossible for Emmett to grab Carolyn Bryant as she testified in court because there was a counter as you walked into the store, and Emmett would have had to jump the counter. Gary, since you were actually in the store, can you give us some idea of how it was set up? I have seen historical photographs and read that the Bryant's lived in the back of the store. It looked like there was a separate apartment with stairs on the left hand side of the store. I wonder why the Bryant's never lived there? There is a website: http://suzialtmanphotos.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Civil-Rights-Archive/G0000sf8sMVpF4XA/I0000XEA1scWQ8pw that has great photos of part of the inside of the store before further deterioration of the building. I would appreciate any input from Gary or other people familiar with this case. I am just curious. Thanks!

      Delete
  21. I am having a hard time finding out when the store was sold/closed. Did the Bryant's continue there for a long time after the trial or did they get out of town? How did Emmett Till's murder change Money if at all? I guess I am trying to find out how the community could live with itself afterwards, especially those directly involved. Does anyone know who is still alive that was there during this time?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. google Wikipedia for Emmet Till. Tells the whole story.

      Delete
  22. When I think about Emmett Till and others. I will go to my grave not understanding man's inhumanity to man. Oh, my bad. I forgot black people are not human. My respect to all those whites who helped with the underground railroad, civil rights and other causes to this day. This is not for you, when did you ever see a limo drive up and take any white person to heaven or hell. I did not think so. So, as long as you are buried 6 feet under the ground with the rest of us. Where worms consume your flesh. Now, you do not seem so important to me. We bleed, cry and sweat the same. We are all conceived and born the same. I am sfill trying to figure out what makes the white man superior? NOTHING! So get off of the pedestal that you have placed yourself for centuries and join the rest of the human race toward love, peace and prosperity. Stop fearing being insignificant. We all are in the scheme of things

    ReplyDelete
  23. Yes, I already know that the body does not go to heaven. Just putting a spin on the selfish, ignorant, arrogant idea of white supremacy. It is said, "that nothing can stop an idea whose time has come." Well, the idea of white supremacy has come and gone. Replaced by a new generation of peoples with ideas that are truly for the greater good of all mankind.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This should be labeled as a historic building, a part of very sad history, but history nevertheless.

    The demon possessed Klan members have the audacity to quote the Bible the justify their actions, this is blasphemy, and they will see the results of their evil life decisions on judgement day.

    By the way, I am a white southerner, and how black AMERICANS were treated is sickening.

    ReplyDelete

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