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Killers' Confession

  The confession in Look | Letters to the Editor


...The Shocking Story of Approved Killing in Mississippi (By William Bradford Huie, Look January 24) is a magnificent piece of journalism...The article did something very valuable about this case. For us, the public, whose hearts were torn by it, this article took the sinisterness out of this thing; by holding it up to truth, we saw all these people in three dimensions: We could see how the men acting out of their own background could do this thing and feel justified; and we saw the boy, acting out of his convivtions too. It also made the women appear more decent; after all theyhad tried indeed to keep the news of the incident away from their men -- they were not sadistic trouble makers, as the newspapers had given the impression...The man who wrote the article must be a wonderful reporter. Many, many thanks.

Dora Berezov
New York, New York


...I want to cancel my subscription to your magazine at once. I will not have my home contaminated with...filthy, dishonest articles...

Mrs. W. R. Prevost
Utica, Mississippi


The South and many other sections of the country...thank you for your article...The killing was a most unfortunate affair to be true. More unfortunate was the failure of the press to give an unbiased, objective report of the whole incident. No race in the world has made as much progress as the Southern Negro since he was set free as a slave 90 years ago. The southern white man has contributed gladly to that advancement and will continue to do so, if social reformers who know little about our problem will let us work it out in our own way...

Lee B. Weathers
Publisher, Shelby Daily Star
Shelby, North Carolina


...Minorities all over the country are indebted to your stand on this brutal slaying...

A/C Howard L. Austin, U.S.A.F
Geneva, New York


...To publish this story, of which no one is proud, but which was certainly justified, smacks loudy of circulation hunting. Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam did what had to be done, and their courage in taking the course they did is to be commended. To have followed any other course would have been unrealistic, cowardly and not in the best interest of their family or country.

Richard Lauchli
Collinsville, Illinois


...Your exposé of the Till case was done with candid but restrained technique. You are to be complimented for your willingness to stick your neck out in this manner for the sake of justice...

Samuel H. Cassel D.D.
The Fairview Baptist Church
Cleveland. Ohio


The enclosed editorial... appeared in the Jackson State Times... Northern as well as Southern newsmen at the trial were generally agreed that the 'not guilty' verdict was the only one possible under the law where a man is assumed innocent until proved otherwise. Yet Mr. Huie makes the blanket assertment that the majority of Mississippi white people either approve of Big Milam's actions or else they don't disapprove enough to risk giving their enemies the satisfaction of a conviction. By this example of opinionated, baseless reporting, Look itself pays scant recognition to the traditions of American Justice it claims were ignored by Mississippians..."

Robert E. Webb
State Times
Jackson, Mississippi


...If this case is not reopened and the guilty punished, I shall laugh at the word "justice."

William T. Bates
Folsom, Pennsylvania


...What I condemn is the article's underlying current of emotion directed against the entire south, an emotion which must of its nature provoke feelings of aversion and antipathy against the innocent as well as the guilty.

James E. Brown
New Orleans, Louisiana


...After reading [the article], I am... ashamed to admit that I am a Southerner.

Arnold L. McLain,BM1, U.S.N.
San Francisco, California


... If you are slurring the people of Mississippi because they did not condemn the two white men, then remind yourself that the two men did not deliberately start the chain of action. For that matter, neither did the Till boy. All of it was precipitated by backgrounds and events outside the main actors in the drama. Regrettable to be sure. But you and I are as much to blame for the killing as the ones who were directly involved...The things is done and nothing anyone can do will bring the Till boy back, but if we fail to learn the obvious lessons from this, there will be other and worse such cases...

C. R. L. Rader
Marion, North Carolina


...If the Till boy were my own son, and he were white in color (as I am) and he conducted himself by molesting a Negro woman...I would approve and understand if the Negro husband did likewise...

Walter Tate
Brooklyn, New York


...Can you in any number of "unbiased" versions change the single deadly...fact that had Emmett Till been a white boy, his approaches to Carolyn Bryant...would very probably have been laughed aside as teen-age boisterousness?...

Ann J. Chisholm
Palmdale, California


...I'm not saying the boy did the right things, but neither has anyone the right to take the law into his own hands.

Mrs. Jerome McAndrews
Lost Nation, Iowa


...You are champions of the NAACP...

John Barber
Montgomery, Alabama


...Look's story of the Till murder in Mississippi carries the material covering the alleged remarks and acts of the dead boy as "facts"...Who stands behind these "facts"?

Roy Wilkins,
Executive Secretary
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People


The confession in Look | Letters to the Editor



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