About brobrubel

Retired journalist. I've reported and edited for newspaper in Florida, Kentucky, New York, Brussels and London. I also spent a few years as a government flack in Pennsylvania. This blog contains random thoughts on politics, world affairs and entertainment

The hard-boiled sons of Emmitt Till

Sixty one years ago today, whites in Money, Miss., murdered a 14-year-old boy in Money, Miss., for whistling at  a white woman. He was from Chicago, visiting family for the summer. His name was Emmitt Till:

They put Till in the back of a pickup truck and drove to a barn at the Clint Shurden Plantation in Drew. Till was pistol-whipped and placed in the bed of the pickup truck again and covered with a tarpaulin. Throughout the course of the night, Bryant, Milam, and witnesses recall their being in several locations with Till. According to some witnesses, they took Till to a shed behind Milam’s home in the nearby town of Glendora, where they beat him again and tried to decide what to do. Witnesses recall between two and four white men and two and four black men who were either in or surrounding the pickup truck where Till was seated. Others passed by Milam’s shed and heard someone being beaten. Accounts differ as to when Till was shot; either in Milam’s shed or by the Tallahatchie River. The group drove with him in the truck to Bryant’s store, where several people noticed blood pooling in the truck bed. Bryant explained he killed a deer, and in one instance showed the body to a black man who questioned him, saying “that’s what happens to smart niggers”.

In an interview with William Bradford Huie, published in Look magazine in 1956, Bryant and Milam said they intended to beat Till and throw him off an embankment into the river to frighten him. They told Huie that while they were beating Till, he called them bastards, declared he was as good as they, and had had sexual encounters with white women. They put Till in the back of their truck, drove to a cotton gin to take a 70-pound (32 kg) fan—the only time they admitted to being worried, thinking that by this time in early daylight they would be spotted and accused of stealing—and drove for several miles along the river looking for a place to dispose of Till. They shot him by the river and weighted his body with the fan.

His mutilated body was recovered and taken to his mother in Chicago. Where she held an open casket funeral so the world could see what the white Mississippians did to her boy. Thousands viewed the body. It was one of the major events of the civil rights era.

There was a trial, but this is Mississippi in the 1950s. The murderers were found not guilty.

They were murderers though. Several months after the trial, they were interviewed by Look Magazine. Here’s what one of them said:

Well, what else could we do? He was hopeless. I’m no bully; I never hurt a nigger in my life. I like niggers—in their place—I know how to work ’em. But I just decided it was time a few people got put on notice. As long as I live and can do anything about it, niggers are gonna stay in their place. Niggers ain’t gonna vote where I live. If they did, they’d control the government. They ain’t gonna go to school with my kids. And when a nigger gets close to mentioning sex with a white woman, he’s tired o’ livin’. I’m likely to kill him. Me and my folks fought for this country, and we got some rights. I stood there in that shed and listened to that nigger throw that poison at me, and I just made up my mind. ‘Chicago boy,’ I said, ‘I’m tired of ’em sending your kind down here to stir up trouble. Goddam you, I’m going to make an example of you—just so everybody can know how me and my folks stand.’

Today, this guy would be called a member of the alt-Right. He’d attend a rally for a megalomaniacal yam, chanting “Make America Great Again,” and throwing sucker punches at people standing quietly holding a copy of the U.S. Constitution in their hands.

Bruce covers The Clash

I see Bruce Springsteen is on tour performing “The River,” and, since it’s a Springsteen concert, practically everything he’s ever done. It’s always interesting to see what covers he performs in concert, because had he not been Springsteen, he would definitely had the greatest cover band of all time.

And it’s great to see him do covers of my other favorite band, The Clash.

Like when he did this in London:

And then I saw he did another Clash cover in Florida:

So that covers the “London Calling” album. Can he do anything from the “Sandinista” album? (“Police on My Back” would be great.)

Who’s that man with the tiny hands in the tank?

So what’s the latest with the Republican Party’s ill-fitting suit filled with chickens come home to roost? (Thanks, John Oliver.)

Ha, ha! A pretend Trump going into different ethnic neighborhoods saying bad things about people in other ethnic neighborhoods. That would never happen, right?

In this election, Donald Trump has used a grieving black father’s loss to try to pit black voters against Mexican immigrants. He employs black spokespeople to tell black voters that immigrants are taking their jobs. He tweets false crime statistics as a ploy to get black people to talk about “black-on-black” crime and distract from the hate crimes at his rallies. …

The Queens, N.Y., native, who won the majority of his state’s Hispanic primary voters last month, will appeal to chasms among Hispanics: of income, citizenship status, national origin and exiles vs. immigrants (“Nothing against immigrants, but my parents were exiles. And the exile experience is different than the immigrant experience,” Marco Rubio has said). Trump will employ a strategy, as candidly described by one senator, “to divide and conquer the people … on assistance,” to get them “to look down at” each other.

This is how Trump—a man who wants to ban Muslims from the country—got the leader of the Nation of Islam to say about him, “I like what I’m looking at,” on the strength of Trump’s giving the most anti-Semitic speech of any presidential candidate since David Duke (who, not coincidentally, has endorsed Trump).

Satire is dead. It was killed by the reason why Melania has an “I’m with stupid” T-shirt.

Talk about politics and brain damage!

I would like to thank Stephen Colbert for reminding me of this turn-of-the-century video:

Since the mango tango combover and former mayor bald spot are encouraging people to go on the Internet for proof that Hillary Clinton is too frail to be president, it’s only fair for others to encourage people to go on the Internet for proof that these guys shouldn’t be within a five Zip code range of the White House.

Hence:

As for Giuliani, he swears Clinton has brain damage. But keep this in mind. He also said this:

You cannot be more brain damaged than this, right? Something pretty big happened in those eight years before Obama.  I think Joe Biden said it best: