Lest We Forget

Mose Wright1892-1977

Two white men with guns entered the house of Mose Wright in the middle of the night. They told Mose to get "the nigger from Chicago". Mose went upstairs and woke his 14-year old nephew Emmett Till who was staying with him during the summer of 1955.

Mose begged the men to leave Emmett alone. The two men were Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam. They threatened to kill Mose if he made any trouble. They took the frightened boy into their truck. They drove him to a barn where they tortured and shot Emmett.

In the trial of Emmett Till's murder Mose Wright testified against the white men who had kidnapped and lynched his nephew. When asked by the judge if he could identify a person in the courtroom who came that night and took his nephew Mose looked around. He pointed at J. W. Milam. And said: "Thar he." - There he is.

Two words. Remarkable considering when and where they were spoken. A Black man testifying against a white man in court meant that the life of the Black man was in danger. Especially in Mississippi.

Despite identifying Milam as the kidnapper and murder of his nephew Milam and Bryant were found not guilty. Mose and his family had to flee from Mississippi to Chicago the same day.