Interview with Rev. Ralph Abernathy

Let me ask you about the Emmett Till murder. That happened in the mid-fifties as well which may illustrate some of the oppression that was going on across the South. Do you remember the impact that that case had on you personally, and can you describe that for me?

Rev. Ralph Abernathy:

Well, the Emmett Till situation was a horrible incident that took place, but it was commonplace in the state of Mississippi. And so every time the officials would drag the Pearl River they would come up with bodies of black men and black women who had been drowned, or dumped, and who had disappeared. And families often were, were afraid to discuss their absence, and they didn't know what had happened to these people. And nothing was done about this situation. Emmett Till I remember very, very clearly and very, very vividly. As a young man I wanted to do something about it, because this young man who had come from Chicago, I believe, and why he was not at all trying to be smart, quote-unquote, smart, but he merely visited a grocery store to pick up some [ringing] items—[ringing]


Cut. Cut.