A thing I always find hard to wrap around my head is how and why certain people feel they’re so significant and important to the point where they feel entitled to belittling someone else in their eyes and in the eyes of the entire world. The last known lynching in the United States occurred on March 21st, 1981 when Michael Donald was beaten up and his lifeless body was hung on a tree by several members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). It happened forty-one years ago. Not long ago, given that there are still those who feel supremacy over someone who does not share the same skin color.
Based on a spine-chilling true story of a 14-year-old boy Emmett Louis Till, a young man who after being abducted by a group of white men was tortured and lynched in Mississippi in 1955. It was meant to be a weeklong trip for his mother, Mamie Till, who sends her only child out of Chicago just to receive his lifeless and unrecognizable body back. The film shows the bravery of a woman who challenged the legal system to have lynching recognized as a crime. The long road ahead was fruitful, but not without the loss of her loved one. But what she does to achieve that is something not every parent would probably do in those circumstances – to have the casket containing her son’s body be left open to show the entire world the definition of lynching, especially from the perspective of a parent.
Written by Michael Reilly, Keith Beauchamp and Chinonye Chukwu ad directed by Chinonye Chukwu herself, it captures who Emmett Till was – a kind and nice young man who dared to look at a white woman, portrayed by Haley Bennett. A compliment that could turn into torture and killing is not an outcome any person would expect. But in America, where hatred towards black people was the norm, it hurts too much to even see it on the big or small screen. The film has an interesting approach to the story that captures the perspective of a parent or how the victim’s family was taken by such a gruesome tragedy. It also shows how fragile the mind of white people was when they could not see themselves sharing the same room with blacks. The scene before entering the courtroom is enough to realize how Mamie Till felt when she was searched by a white officer with eyes filled with disgust.
That being said, it’s another ugly and dark story of racism told in a movie. Yet, even though the incident took place in 1955, the lynching or killing of blacks in America has continued. And it continues with the black community left to mourn the loss of their family members while the whites celebrate another gained freedom delivered by the all-white jury that was too selective back then. Yes, it’s a harrowing story with a price none of us would like to pay. But it’s how heroes and activists are being born – without fear to share the story that can change the world from worse to better. And that alone is why you all must see “Till” – to regroup, re-think and come to the realization of what went wrong and what can be done for the next generation to not even exercise ideas like – you are not my brother or neighbor – you are not like me. If someone says that, it’s our duty to question them. But do we and will we? It’s for historians to get back to us.