Revisiting the Past

By Amira Hairston

I don’t like to revisit the past.

When I first entered Morgan State, I was nervous about taking any black history or black media classes because I knew that if I took the class, we would revisit emotionally heavy moments in black history. During my second semester at Morgan, I took a black media course and my worst fear came to be when my instructor included Emmett Till’s murder in one of her lessons.

Emmett Till’s murder is one of the most brutal and heartbreaking events that I have ever read about. I know that there are other murders in our history, but, for me, this murder is the one that affects me the most.

When my professor told us to do a little research on Emmett Till, I was a little nervous; but I did what she asked. I had heard bits and pieces about what happened to Emmett over the years, but I knew that I would need to get a bit more information to complete my class assignment. So I grabbed my computer, logged onto Google and typed his name into the search bar. The first thing that I saw was the photo of him lying in his casket. My heart stopped and I desperately wanted to close my laptop; but I hadn’t even begun in my research, so I clicked on the first link that I saw.

The details were so disturbing – from the way that he was snatched from his uncle’s house to the way he was tortured by those two white men and then how his body was found. It made my stomach turn, but I couldn’t stop reading. Though the details were heartbreaking, they still had my undivided attention.

My heart broke for his mother. Seeing your son in that condition and then having the men who killed him get off. It reminds me so much of the Trayvon Martin murder that happened in 2012. Trayvon’s family fought so hard to make sure that George Zimmerman, the man who fatally shot Trayvon, got punished for what he did, but in the end after a trial, a jury let him off.

I now realize that there is no avoiding the past because at some point it’ll end up playing a role in our present and, possibly, our future.

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