In 1955, there is a night that will forever be ingrained in Simeon Wright’s memory. His cousin, Emmet Till, nicknamed “Bobo” was coming to visit from Chicago. Simeon Wright had no idea he would witness the kidnapping of the man whose murder launched the civil rights movement.
“It was the saddest, longest night of my life,” says Wright of the ordeal. Sad because his fun-loving cousin Emmett, or Bobo as they called him, would be taken from their home, beaten and his body dumped in the river near their Money, Mississippi home. Everything began with a whistle. That’s where the facts have become mixed with falsehoods.
During an appearance before students at the University of Mississippi, he described what he witnessed on that fateful day when Emmett Till whistled at a white woman.
“It scared us half to death because we had no idea he was going to do that and they asked me later, ‘why did he do it?’ I said I think he wanted us to laugh. He just didn’t know the danger. He had no idea what would happen to him,’”divulges Wright.
The attackers, Caroline Bryant’s husband, and friend J.W. Milam, were tried and quickly found not guilty by an all white jury.This case would outrage a nation perhaps unaware of the atrocities African Americans experienced.
It is Wright’s determination to reach out to young people so they will remember this long-ago case and it’s importance decades later.Wright is the author of a new book called Simeon’s story an eyewitness account, which he believes will clear up all misconceptions of his cousin’s story, and set the record straight.