Tracing Emmett Till’s Legacy from Black Lives Matter back to the Civil Rights Movement




Emmett Till, Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives Matter, racism, white supremacy


This paper explores the legacy of the Emmett Till case as one of the core elements which binds together the Civil Rights Movement and the current Black Lives Matter in the US. Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 has magnified the escalating racial tension of recent years and has, at the same time, fueled several forms of social activism across the United States. Acting as the catalyst for Black Lives Matter, the assassination of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012 stirred the race question in the country as the Till lynching had similarly done fifty seven years before. At the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, the complex relations between race, class, and gender within the South helped to set the atmosphere for one of the starkest assassinations in US history. Till’s infamous murder soon gave rise to an empowering narrative among the African American community that not only contributed to putting an end to the voracious rule of Jim Crow in the US South but that, with the passage of time, has also become a banner of justice in the current fight against racism, as it seems that recent violent events resuscitate the latent white supremacist ghosts of one of the world’s most powerful nations.


Xunta de Galicia, Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades, European Social Fund


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How to Cite

Fernández Fernández, Martín. 2020. “Tracing Emmett Till’s Legacy from Black Lives Matter Back to the Civil Rights Movement”. Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina De Estudios Ingleses, no. 33 (December):43-62.