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The Role and Impact of Mamie Till Mobley’s Actions

Several individuals participated in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1970s. However, most of these people’s stories, especially women’s, were sometimes overlooked despite their efforts in fighting for African Americans’ equal rights. Even though their encounters may not be widely known, many courageous and dedicated women were the main activists and organizers in the civil rights fight. Without these individuals, the war against racial inequality could not have been executed. According to Morgan, women were the support system for the whole civil rights movement and played significant roles to ensure that the United States got to where it is today1. This paper focuses on the role and impact of Mamie Till Mobley as a social movement activist.

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The story of Mamie Till Mobley is one that involves success at a time of grief. Initially, she did not participate in any civil rights movement; however, due to the events that happened to her son, she decided to join such groups. According to Brown, her determination motivated civil rights movements and influenced the rejection of Jim Crow rules across the United States2. Emmett Till, Mobley’s son, was 14 years old when he was brutally murdered. The incident occurred in Money, Mississippi while he was visiting his cousins during summer. Emmett Till was accused of inappropriate interaction with a white woman. His body was found after three days in the Tallahatchie River. The police had tried to dispose of the body but the mother insisted that it was supposed to be brought back to her.

During the burial of her son, Mamie Till Mobley insisted that everyone had to see what the white man did to her son. This was despite the fact that the state seal of Mississippi was on the casket, which was further padlocked3. Her actions saw many people attend the burial with most of them taking pictures, which were circulated all over America. This was especially significant because the son’s murderers were in court at the time. The jury only took five days to deliberate on the case and acquitted the individuals who later admitted to killing the 14-year old4. Through the constant attention she received, her case was significant because it demonstrated to the people of the United States the justice inequality for African Americans in the South.

In this case, Mobley’s role was to inform everyone in America about what happened to young African Americans when they committed even the slightest of offenses. Furthermore, in the Washington Post, the claim that Emmett inappropriately interacted with a woman was false as she stated that she lied5. Thus, an African American did not have to do anything to be treated unjustly. By insisting the casket be left open, she managed to attract thousands of people who then spread the information throughout the country. According to Morgan, this encouraged civil rights activists who stayed dormant to directly engage in the fight for equality6. For several months after the incident, different people retaliated against the oppressive rules of the white man. Additionally, since some newspapers circulated Emmett’s pictures, even the white men and women saw what happened and were moved.

At her time of grief, she received a lot of attention making the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) recruit her. She became their national symbol of the social injustices against the Black man. Since the movement required finances to operate, Mobley play a key role in the numerous fundraisings the organization had7. In addition, most people started joining the NAACP because they wanted their actions to be seen. Her actions encouraged other activists such as Rosa Parks to refuse to stand up for a white person on a bus. This event was followed by Martin Luther King Jr.’s actions of calling a nationwide bus boycott8. These were some of the bus segregation laws that were present in the 1950s. Furthermore, Black people all over America started participating in sit-ins in restaurants and bars. Despite knowing that they would be arrested, they participated in peaceful demonstrations around the country.

Mamie Till Mobley is one of the lesser-known social activists of the 1950s. Her role in shaping American society was significant; however, her actions were overshadowed by those of such individuals as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. Nevertheless, what happened to her child caused a ripple effect that shook America. Her child was brutally murdered and dumped in the Tallahatchie River. Additionally, the police wanted to hide the body but due to her insistence, they gave it to her under strict rules that she should not have an open casket. She decided to go against the law and showed the world what the white man did to her son. The Impact of her actions led to the rise of social movements and sparked others to join such groups. She managed to encourage others to fight for their rights despite the consequences that may arise.

References

Brown, DeNeen L.Emmett Till’s Mother Opened His Casket and Sparked the Civil Rights Movement.” The Washington Post. Web.

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Morgan, Thad. How Freedom Rider Diane Nash Risked Her Life to Desegregate the South.” HISTORY. Web.

Footnotes

  1. Thad Morgan, “How Freedom Rider Diane Nash Risked Her Life to Desegregate the South,”
  2. Brown, “Emmett Till’s Mother Opened His Casket and Sparked the Civil Rights Movement,”
  3. Brown, “Emmett Till’s Mother Opened His Casket and Sparked the Civil Rights Movement,”
  4. Brown, “Emmett Till’s Mother Opened His Casket and Sparked the Civil Rights Movement,”
  5. Thad Morgan, “How Freedom Rider Diane Nash Risked Her Life to Desegregate the South,”
  6. Thad Morgan, “How Freedom Rider Diane Nash Risked Her Life to Desegregate the South,”
  7. Brown, “Emmett Till’s Mother Opened His Casket and Sparked the Civil Rights Movement”
  8. Brown, “Emmett Till’s Mother Opened His Casket and Sparked the Civil Rights Movement,”

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StudyCorgi. "The Role and Impact of Mamie Till Mobley’s Actions." November 19, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-role-and-impact-of-mamie-till-mobleys-actions/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Role and Impact of Mamie Till Mobley’s Actions." November 19, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-role-and-impact-of-mamie-till-mobleys-actions/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Role and Impact of Mamie Till Mobley’s Actions'. 19 November.

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