Emmett Till v. Trayvon Martin, A 58 Year Parallel For Today’s Civil Rights Call For…Justice?

meOkay, let’s make some comparisons based upon a statement from a well known and admired television/film personality Oprah Winfrey.  Oprah stated on the Today Show, “Trayvon Martin, parallel to Emmett Till, Let me just tell you, in my mind, same thing. But you can get stuck in that and not allow yourself to move forward and to see how far we’ve come.”


Emmett Till: Was a teenager, 14 years old to be exact when he died.
Travyon Martin: Was a teenager too, 17 years old when he died.

Emmett Till was from Chicago visiting an Uncle in the South, Mississippi during Jim Crow days, the year was 1955.
Trayvon Martin, was visiting his father’s fiance’s Florida home, the year was 2012 and this is a multicultural gated community.

Emmett Till was purported to either have whistled, touched or flirted with the White Shopkeeper’s wife, Carolyn Bryant.
Trayvon Martin was walking back from a neighborhood convenience store when he was spotted and followed by a Hispanic man, the neighborhood watch coordinator, George Zimmerman.

Emmett Till was taken from his Uncle’s home, he was beaten, eyes gouged and face beaten beyond recognition, shot in the head, tied with barbed wire which was weighted down with an iron fan and tossed into the Tallahatchie River.

Trayvon Martin’s life ended after a violent encounter with George Zimmerman.  George Zimmerman’s back of his head had lacerations and a bloody swollen nose which was photographed by the police.  The coroner’s report showed that Trayvon Martin had scraped knuckles….

Emmett Till’s Killers was tried before an all White Jury.  Bryant and Milam were found not guilty after only 67 minutes of deliberations, but their case had overwhelming evidence of them committing the murder.  There were witnesses, that saw Till’s body in the back of the truck, there were those that heard someone being beaten behind  shacks in some reports and knowing it was Till.  One also needs to know that Bryant and Milam admitted to committing the crime. Protected by double jeopardy laws, they told the whole story of how they kidnapped and killed Emmett Till to Look magazine for $4,000 only a few months later!  There is no parallel in the conclusion  of the cases from Emmett Till’s case to Trayvon Martin’s case as far as I’m concerned with the outcome and the fact of bold confessions by the killers.

No one knows what happened in that time span from when Zimmerman hung up with the Sanford police and his encounter with Trayvon Martin. Martin’s friend Rachel Jeantel claims she heard Martin ask Zimmerman, “what are you following me for”. Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess or assumption to the sequence of actions that led to Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin.

Regarding Emmett Till’s death, and the real cause which can be definitively accounted to blatant racism supported by horrible Jim Crow laws. I cannot see any significant comparison in the true cause of the death of Trayvon Martin vs. that of  Emmett Till, besides some coincidences like age, race and both were visitors.  Those parallels are not the very  essence as to why Emmett Till was murdered.  There is not the same factor as to how and why  Trayvon Martin was shot to death unless you want to stick with the profiling and disregard the fact that there were others besides Zimmerman in the community that gave accounts on seeing blacks robbing and in one case entering a home while the homeowner locked herself into a bedroom upstairs!  Remember now, we don’t know what and how the deadly entanglement of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin begin, nor is there a clear witness accounting of that deadly fight.

Oprah Winfrey’s words carry a lot of weight with her fans, many are Black/African-Americans, and while those sound bites garner press.   Those statements also garner immediate attention and are taken as the definitive word, the call for action and sometimes they aren’t questioned or scrutinized too closely.  I make no excuses for anyone of any influence, but just for the sake of argument, perhaps Oprah meant because they were both so young, black, and from out of town, and that was all Ms. Winfrey meant to imply with her comments. Oprah did even state that “we can get stuck”…but there wasn’t any more expounding on the “stuck” except in correlation to the movie’s butler.  So now the Trayvon Martin death is a civil rights cause.  Sure they can call it what they want, that is the beauty of America, but exactly what civil rights violation?  The right to self defense? The right to stand your ground? The right to confront, question, and from there no one really knows?  The right to not be profiled if Black/African-American?  The fact that they didn’t like the verdict?  What about the fact that it has been proven that self defense cases in the state of Florida has been found in the favor of Black Defendants 55 percent of the time with 1/3 of  fatal cases involving Blacks?

What exactly is their premises for this civil rights movement?  Racial profiling? A community whose demographic’s were at the time of the shooting: 49% non-Hispanic white, 23% Hispanic (of any race), 20% black, and 5% Asian, according to census numbers.  I also will mention that many times George Zimmerman had aided those that are African American, but that was not of concern to those that are on this driven mission to constantly stir up civil unrest and not civil rights.   No one wanted to hear about Zimmerman’s 2010 aid to a homeless black man by the name of Sherman Ware.  Aid that had him going to the local NAACP at the time to ask for assistance, aid which when no one else was incensed that the White man, Jason Collision hadn’t been arrested for assaulting Mr. Ware he continued to rail at authorities and is recorded as saying, ” The law is written in black and white, It should not and cannot be enforced in the gray for those … in the thin blue line.”~George Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s own neighbor, a black woman that asked for anonymity as reported by Chris Francescani in Reuters stated:

“Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I’m black, OK?” the woman said, declining to be identified because she anticipated backlash due to her race. She leaned in to look a reporter directly in the eyes. “There were black boys robbing houses in this neighborhood,” she said. “That’s why George was suspicious of Trayvon Martin.”

I didn’t write this to rehash or defend George Zimmerman’s character.  I wrote this in response of  Oprah Winfrey’s comment to the Grio.  A comment among an interview regarding the Movie The Butler.  I wish someone of Oprah Winfrey’s stature would for once expound on how to elevate and heal broken dynamics of many inner-city Black families  in America.   I wish they would press for real solutions to crimes committed against the Black communities starting with gangs.  The root causes for so many Blacks to wound, rob, and murder their own and why the crime statistic reflect that more blacks are committing crimes of violence against other races.

There is a race relations problem in America, that I won’t deny that, but I also don’t see any due concern with those that can make or break Presidential candidates.  Those that state they preach to and in the community doing anything that is directly targeted towards bridging and eradicating real racial problems, I see them fanning the flames on a smoldering, smoking and well stocked fire pyre with and by their actions and words.  Yes Oprah, we have come so far and yet have stayed so far behind especially when one uses history to run wide parallels to create a tailored justice.


16 thoughts on “Emmett Till v. Trayvon Martin, A 58 Year Parallel For Today’s Civil Rights Call For…Justice?

  1. Generally I don’t learn post on blogs, however I would like to say that this
    write-up very forced me to take a look at and do it!
    Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice article.

  2. The difference between Martin and Till was their age Till was 14 Martin nearly 18
    The Military does not (today ) take 14 year old boys into the MIlitary . My son was in the Military at age 17 [as were most of my brothers] and he was not nearly as tall and weight of Martin .. thinking back neither was any of my brothers one was 5’4 and weighed 105 pounds at age 17 and he was in the Military .My point is the Military does not take boys into the Service in any Branch. Lets look at Till and Martins background (Police Record) I no nothing about a Police Record on Till but Martiin had one and Martin was a bully he had punch a Bus Driver in the face just days before trying to kill Zimmerman. It was Martin that had Martial Arts training and used it on Zimmerman ,it was Martin that attacked Zimmerman punching him in the face and knocking him to the ground and tried to beat Zimmermans head into mush by repeating beating it into the concrete. Zimmerman gave up following Martin,Martin doubled back after buying stuff to make a drug I think it was Skittles,Cough Syrup and something else that druggies use .Martin was aprox 6’3 and not that much lighter than Zimmerman. Zimmerman and his Wife Schooled (tutored )little Black Children Zimmerman was not a racist perhaps Martin was because Zimmerman was Mixed having Hispanic . It was not about color Martin died while trying to take Zimmermans gun to kill Zimmerman and it went off . Think about it Zimmerman was flat on his back Martin over him ,Martin was in control and he was trying to take Zimmermans gun out to shoot him. It was not about color it was about character Martin was a bully , a thief and druggie.obama along with those he has won over tried to make it a race thing . Obama is about devide and conquer if he can cause a race war to get fokes in the streets he it will give him all he needs to call Martial Law and set up his own government. obama is not about power for the people and that includes Blacks once they serve a purpose of helping him gain power over everyone … world leaders are working to set up where only they are have full power . Obama does not want to hear ” Government of the People By the People and for the People .

  3. Obamas name needs to be added along with Al and Jessie
    Obama from the get go was set to use color to achive his own agenda,its not about a race thing there was no race thing before obama started his divide and conquer quest.. Though things were not perfect they much better . Obama used his color to get votes he used and is using Blacks to achive his agenda . Fokes its all about Obama and his quest for power over everyone no matter their race .Obama right at the beginning said in so many words ” They say I don’t look like others on paper money” I did not hear anyone but obama make that comment,he was drawing attention to his color as if he would not be voted in it would be because of his color and or his name he said ” They say I have a funny name who are the They I heard no one say anything about his name being funny ,many in politices have funny sounding last names , Obama chose to change his name if he thinks its funny sounding why did he “Purposely” choose to take it instead of the name he had. Its not about color its about character . I did not vote for Bill Clinton it was not because he was white his character as a leader in government was not right ….in my view as a citizen. I did vote twice for Alan Keyes in primarys not because he was Black but because his character I did not see lacking what is for the good of America. IMO I think Barack Obama is a disgrace to the Black Race

  4. Pingback: Stacey Dash Is Truly Clueless!!! | GetRealWithDarylandDeVon@.Wordpress.Com

  5. Excellent article, Babette. I would like to see racism become a thing of the past in my lifetime. I worry for my grandchildren and the influences racists may have on them as they are growing up. I still feel there is only one human race…regardless of color. I wish others believed that as well.

  6. Excellent article, Babette. I would like to see racism become a thing of the past in my lifetime. I worry for my grandchildren and the influences racists may have on them as they are growing up. I still feel there is only one human race…regardless of color. I wish others believed that as well.

  7. It is very concerning that things have come so far but have not changed. Yes there is a problem with the amount of crime across the board in America. However there is a major problem with racial profiling and in spite of George Zimmerman’s Hispanic roots he did profile Trayvon Martin. Young men like Trayvon are looked at as suspicious merely because of their race. My son was putting in work over night on Campus and went to get an iced tea from McDonald’s, he walked. Along his walk the same cop went back and forth at least 5 or 6 times. This totally freaked him out because he knows the atmosphere in this country right now and he hurried back the ATMO building. This issue of race relations is a today problem not a historical issue and needs attention instead of people making like it does not exist. By the way did I mention that he is a grad student studying Atmospheric Science?

    • Cynthia, thank you for taking the time to comment and share your son’s experience too! I would never proclaim there is not profiling. I have been profiled myself, but also had to profile working security, where as I wasn’t concentrating on black youths in the retail industry I was watching older adults of all races those are the ones that tend to shoplift more for various reasons, so there you have it. I’m sure your son is a very well raised young man and it’s unfortunate that a cop probably with nothing else to do had to “front some power”. God bless your son and you and keep faith that we can get racism eradicated with today’s issues like you stated. Through Him all things are possible!

  8. great piece…too bad the pulpit is higher for oprah, sharpton, j. jackson and obama…they are fanning the flames…i hope you will keep addressing the ‘truth’ so America can get back to ‘loving one another’

  9. Whites who say the same thing are branded as “racists” and blacks are “Uncle Toms”. The truth stated here is killing the black community and widening the racial gaps in America. When will we realize that working together will make us stronger and that the politics of division will only make the Sharptons and Jacksons of the world stronger to the detriment of all of us. We should all see ourselves as Americans, first, and hyphenated americans only as a nod to our heritage. We need to stop allowing ourselves to be defined by the accident of our heritage.

    • Excellent assessment Hugh. There are serious issues though in the American Black communities that need to be addressed, such as gangs, the break down of the family structure and of course the infamous black genocide-Abortion. Those are not of course exclusive to American Blacks, but they are at exorbitant numbers higher than any other race in America.

    • That’s the beauty of America Melanie, I don’t have to like the lady nor do I consider her smart in matters of policy nor political reform. She has given money, and started a village, many have done that too, but others continue to work towards building a community, not an empire.

  10. I agree with the President. We need to have a national discussion on race in this country. Thank you for not allowing ‘them’ to be the only ones guiding the discussion. I just ‘liked’ TLCR on FB and look forward to hearing more from your group. Thank you.

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