From Equity Task Force Member Leah Sweet: A few years ago, I picked up a copy of Death of Innocence: The story of the hate crime that changed America by Mamie Till Mobley and Chris Benson. Ms.Till Mobley is the mother of Emmett Till, the young teen from Chicago who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in Mississippi in 1955 while visiting his family. His “crime” was whistling at a white girl. It is an incredible story of the love, hopes and dreams that mothers place on their children. And the courage and persistence of a mom who commits her life to educating and changing America. The book also traces the discrimination, hatred, violence and injustice against Aftican Americans up through 1955 to present times.
This case became a catalyst for civil rights work and a sad reminder of justice never served. It is personal, touching and inspiring. When George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis in May 2020, he called for his mother. As mothers, many of us felt his call and have been compelled to act on behalf of racial justice.If you would like to learn more about Emmett Till, his mother and their legacy, check out this book.
Leah Sweet has been a Tangletown resident since 2001. She lives with her husband and two sons near Fuller Park and works as a nonprofit consultant.