“I don’t know what it is like to be black in America but I do know what it is like to be a mother. Emmett was Mamie Till’s only son. The thought of anything happening to your child is beyond comprehension. Their pain is your pain. My engagement with this image was through empathy with his mother.” She added: “Art can be a space for empathy, a vehicle for connection. I don’t believe that people can ever really know what it is like to be someone else (I will never know the fear that black parents may have) but neither are we all completely unknowable.” www.nytimes.com/2017/03/21/arts/design/painting-o…
Emmett, who lived in Chicago, was visiting relatives in Money, a tiny hamlet in the Mississippi Delta region when, on Aug. 24, 1955, he went into a store owned by Roy and Carolyn Bryant, a married couple, and had his fateful encounter with Ms. Bryant, then 21.
Four days later, he was kidnapped from his uncle’s house, beaten and tortured beyond recognition, and shot in the head. His body was tied with barbed wire to a cotton gin fan and thrown into the Tallahatchie River.
...But among thousands of lynchings of black people, this one looms large in the country’s tortured racial history, taught in history classes to schoolchildren, and often cited as one of the catalysts for the civil rights movement.
Photographs in Jet Magazine of Emmett’s gruesomely mutilated body — at a funeral that his mother insisted have an open coffin, to show the world what his killers had done — had a galvanizing effect on black America.