Powerful photographs–continued

For our last class, we read Nora Ephron’s “The Boston Photographs” and examined the images her essay refers to. For our next class, we will consider the photographs published in Jet magazine that depict the brutalization of Emmett Till.

One collector of civil rights memorabilia has provided an archive of the various issues of Jet magazine relevant to this discussion. Before you click through to view the images, please brace yourselves–these are extremely disturbing images.

You might also look at this compilation of newspaper articles following Emmett Till’s murder. At the bottom of the page, you can download the FBI report, which includes materials from the time of the incident and more recent reporting.

Taking a step back, the Wikipedia page could be a good place to get started to understand the events that led up to and that followed Till’s murder.

Reply here with a comment about the choice to publish these photographs. You might write about what motivated the choice, or even what Ephron would say based on what she wrote in “The Boston Photographs,” or how these images matter today in relation to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Are there other sources you consulted that were helpful for you? Please share them with us in your comment.

1 thought on “Powerful photographs–continued”

  1. Part of what motivated the decision to publish these photos was the fact that none of the mainstream publications at the time were publishing them regardless of their stance towards the acquittal of Emmett Till’s murderers, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam. Only publications catering to blacks published the photos, in comparison to white Southern papers which were clearly biased in favor of the acquitted murderers. It was also unthinkable that anyone would do such things to a child, so by publishing Till’s photos, Jet and other papers also making the same decision were able to expose how far down the effects of bigotry and racism could reach.

    In addition to the Wikipedia page, I found this New York Times article helpful:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/28/us/how-photos-became-icon-of-civil-rights-movement.html

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