The 1955 lynching murder of 14 year old Emmett Till sent shockwaves through the country. At the time it was not unusual to hear of the murder of a young African American in the rural South but Till’s mother, Mamie Bradley, chose to have an open-casket funeral to be certain that the gruesome torture exacted on her son, by the later acquitted Roy Bryant, would not only be read about but seen. Images from the funeral were disseminated across the country and a wave of protest followed. “The NAACP took immediate nation wide action following the acquittals late in 1955. This included a speaking tour that featured witnesses and the boys mother Mrs. Bradley,” says civil rights collector Scott Mussell. He is on a quest to find relics related to the protest that followed the crime.
“Till’s murder is an important catalyst in the momentum going forward in the civil rights movement and there aren’t many artifacts available to collectors” Mussell states adding “It’s certainly a big hole in my collection.” He’s trying to fill it and offering cash rewards for two items in particular. The first is a small broadside or flier from Grand Rapids Michigan for a meeting “Protesting Emmett Till Lynching And Trial” that is dated Oct. 21, 1955. “It’s a real treasure to find anything but this particular item was done in red and blue text and even lists ‘Mrs. Mamie Bradley,’ Till’s mother as a speaker,” Mussell says.
Another item he’s seeking is a small book published by famed Civil Rights photographer Ernest Wethers titled “Complete Photo Story Of Till Murder Case” and cost “$1.00” at the time. “It’s just fantastic with a photo of Till of the cover and the fact that Wither’s self published it out of his Memphis office is so fantastic. I’ve only know of it being offered a couple times. It’s near the top of my want list.” Mussell said. If you have these items or other’s relating to Emmitt Till or the civil rights movement Mussell wants to hear from you and can be reach at 515.707.7250 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mussell is an aggressive buyer seeking items for historical preservation in his private collection.