The Wrongful Accusation of Emmett Till and Its Legacy

Recently, there are a lot of articles that talk about or relate to the case of Emmett Till, who was lynched and disfigured after being accused of flirting with a white woman. In the article, “Simeon Wright, Witness to Abduction of Emmett Till, Dies at 74,” Wright’s memoir of Till gives a primary source to the truth of such history. As other previous historians, most articles were trying to correct and justify the wrongful accusation, and amplify the degree of racial discrimination in the U.S. However, what I think is more important is not the defense or clarification of such unjust result, but the fact that, the white women, Carolyn Bryant Donham, who confessed that her allegation of Till’s sexual assault to her was not true.

This makes me wonder what makes Donham decide to tell the truth? Why did it take this long time for her to confess that her allegation was wrong? Does the change of her testimony justify that our society has achieved some liberal goals so that a white segregationist could recognize her fault? What if Emmett Till did not die, but put into a prison, would she still tell the truth? I think what is so valuable about her confession is not only reinforcing the accusation was wrong, but also providing evidence to the white audience that an innocent boy was killed because of their discrimination. It provides a space for the white population to ponder what had happened in the history very frankly and nakedly.

However, Donham’s claim not only gives a window for today’s society to judge the racial morality of the past, but also provides an example of a false accusation that killed an innocent person. In a more recent case, Bill Cosby was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman, Andrea Constand, at his home 14 years ago. Interestingly, his publicist compared his conviction to the plight of Emmett Till claiming that this is a “public lynching.” Such connection to the case of Till, to me, really gives me a new thought to today’s testimony. Since when are all people honest? The usage of history by the publicist, in this case, is really effective. History is a living entity. What we learn from it can be applied greatly in our daily lives.


Black Lives Matter Can’t Be Sued

Black Lives Matter Can’t Be Sued, Judge Tells Police Officer

This short article simply reports that a police officer brought a lawsuit against Black Lives Matter because of the injuries that the police sustained while responding to protests. Chief Judge Brian Jackson said that Black Lives Matter is a social movement, so it cannot be sued. First of all, it is very obvious to see the change that today’s society has accomplished. The social justice rules the case in a very liberal manner. What the judge said was that an individual can sue against an individual, but not a social movement. However, this makes me wonder was there any case in the history that a particular party was accused because of an individual?

If we shift gears to the black community, we can easily sense the strong activism that lies in the Black Lives Matter. However, such report again can make people easily correlate violence with black power. Such accusation against the party makes me wonder the accuracy of the lawsuit. This article says that the police officer was anonymous. Is he a white or a black American? Were the injuries that he received caused by Black Lives Matter or someone else?  Even though it is obvious to see the judge’s decision is based on the nature of laws: an individual cannot sue against a social movement, the racial tension is still present. What if this is a white party? Would the white party be sued also?

On the other hand, the voice from police officers is very intriguing. In society, we often focus on the goal and accomplishment of the movement. If the police were injured during the protest, what could they do? It is almost impossible to spot an individual who hurt the police officer and sue against this person during a protest. This article amplifies the judicial decision and makes the judicial legislation seem impartial. However, it is still contentious to celebrate the decision that is in favor of Black Lives Matter or a social movement, because the voice of police officers is sidelined and the racial tension is still fundamental. This article might again reinforce the cliche that black power is associated with violence.