Roland Martin says 'Trayvon Martin Could Be This Generation's Emmett Till'

When Rosa Parks sparked the modern Civil Rights Movement by refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. on Dec. 1, 1955, many accepted the notion that she was simply tired and didn't want to get up.
But the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and other civil rights veterans have long detested that simple description, saying she was a tired, meek woman. Instead, they contend that Parks was like many African-Americans at the time: angry and upset over the lynching three months earlier of Emmett Till in Mississippi.

Till was pulled from his relative's home in Money, Miss., by a group of white men for allegedly whistling at a white woman in a store earlier in the day on Aug. 28, 1955. When his badly disfigured and decomposed body was found, Till's relatives were unable to identify his body.

Till's mom, Mamie, ordered his casket to be opened so the world could see what was done to her son. And when Jet Magazine and the Chicago Defender put his face on their covers, that image was seared in the minds of a generation of African-Americans.

The force by which Till's death hit black America and led to a massive movement for justice and equality is unprecedented in America history. And as many African-Americans today express anger, bitterness, rage and frustration with the not-guilty verdict of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, the seeds of discontent are blossoming into a 21st-century social justice movement.

It is not to suggest that the deaths of Till and Martin were the same or were the result of similar circumstances. No, my comparison is in the visceral reaction their two deaths have generated and in the potential aftermath.

There have been numerous stories I've covered in my 21 years as a journalist, most of them with black-focused media outlets, and rarely has a story of injustice generated the level of attention as the Trayvon Martin murder.

Young African-Americans, in particular, have been affected because Trayvon was only 17.

For them and their parents, this is simple: How bad is a country when a 17-year-old walking home from the store and minding his own business is identified as a suspect, followed and eventually killed?

As folks have expressed anger, with some taking to the streets in protest, many are asking: "What now?"


Source: Roland Martin Reports | Roland S. Martin
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