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Mamie Till Mobley

The lynching of Emmett Till in 1955 became a pivotal point for race relations in the United States. Instead of sitting by silently, his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, opted to utilize the media in a way it had not been used before.

She decided to hold an open casket viewing, welcoming as many people as she could to view her son’s body, including Jet Magazine. With the gruesome images making their way around, She used her grief to not only tell the story of her son, but to push the Civil Rights Movement into a new era. Her selflessness led to the mass media becoming an important device for the Civil Rights Movement.

In this episode of Black History in Two Minutes or So hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. — with additional commentary from Peniel Joseph of the University of Texas, Austin, Farah Griffin of Columbia University and Chris Benson, the author of The Death of Innocence — we honor Mamie Till Mobley and the legacy of her bravery.

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