Black man killed for dating white women
But this tale, among many others, has served as a cautionary tale for black families of what happens when white women and black men interact.
This tale, among many others, haunts me, because I am the mother of a black son — and I am terrified that my black son will date white women. My mother was very clear about the expectations she had for my brother and myself: she wanted us to keep our home clean, go to school, and, in my brother's case, she wanted him to never, ever bring home a white woman.
Defying the social constraints and discrimination she faced as an African-American woman growing up in the 1920s and '30s, Mamie Till excelled both academically and professionally.
Those who knew Till best described him as a responsible, funny and infectiously high-spirited child.
He was stricken with polio at the age of 5, but managed to make a full recovery, save a slight stutter that remained with him for the rest of his life.
He was full of charisma and laughter, and he lost his life for it.
And while we are far removed from the Jim Crow South, we aren’t far removed from the institutionalized racism on which this country was built.