Emmitt Till & Damilola Taylor

In PLP we are currently learning about the Civil Rights movement. Our unit is called ‘We Shall Over Come’. The term, ‘We Shall Over Come is the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. Some key people that we have researched so far are, Rosa Parks, Emmitt Till, Claudette Colvin and a bit of Martin Luther King Jr. We have also looked into connecting contemporary events with historical events which was our task for this post. As always we have a driving question to consider;

How can the actions of an individual change a system?

I chose to research Emmitt Till and Damilola Taylor. Both of these young individuals were murdered because of racial hate. The reason I chose these two individuals, is because for both cases at first the murder was sugarcoated and people were clueless of what really happened. It was because of the parents, of that reviled the truth to the media and to a crowd, that people acknowledged these defaults in society. The media is the most powerful tool. If an event ends up on the front page of the news paper, people will read it and the word spreads. This is why the parents of the individuals I researched, stood up and let out the truth, to encourage people to fight for justice. 

My post will be answering, by not sugar coating the truth such as Emmitt Till and Damilola Taylor’s murder, it can reveal the imperfections in society. My two examples is the death of Emmitt Till and Damilola Taylor. This collage I created is so you can visually see the two events historical and current and how there are still devastating events happening in modern day. The pictures of Mamie and the parents of Damilola’s parents speaking up, imply the importance of saying something instead of pushing the truth under the covers. 


The historic event I chose is the death of Emmitt Till.

Emmitt Till was the age of 14, when he was killed by two white men for wolf whistling at a white women. In my opinion I think it is outrageous that a 14 year would be killed for something as small as wolf whistling at a white woman. Since Emmitt Till was colored, white people didn’t pay much attention to the case. The suspects were taken to court for a trial, but of course the white men won, and weren’t pressed any charges. At Emmitt’s funeral, his mother, Mamie, decided to display the body. People could realize what the white people were capable of. The impact of Emmitt’s mother un sugarcoating the murder was a contribution to the civil rights movement.  


My contemporary event I chose to research is Damilola Taylor’s death.

Damiloa was only 10 years old when he was stabbed by a group of white teens. The theory accepted by the police is that he was attacked and fell on a broken bottle, later bleeding to death (which is a lie). He died 10 days before his 11th birthday.


His parents took the news and explained that there needs to be change. There is even a film on the BBC which is a documentary of Damilola. 

His mother Gloria Taylor, was popular on the news and on various panels. In fact in a centre was set up in memory of Damilola. The Damilola Taylor Trust was established in May 2001 in memory of Damilola Taylor who was tragically killed in 2000 by an act of violence by two boys not much older than him. The Damilola centre is a place where youths can have fun and be away from violence. Gloria also confronted the authorities to get their facts straight about her son. 

I’m not saying that it was a good thing that these two innocent boys were killed. However if non of this happened, it wouldn’t have sparked that change in society that needs to happen. By un sugarcoating these murders, people realize that there are imperfections in society and this is when people want change. After researching these topics I have realized that even in modern day nothing is perfect. In my collage as I mentioned earlier, you can see that a lot of the pictures were of news papers and the parents standing up implying that by letting the truth out, will improve society.The end of racism may be on the right tracks however, there is still a long way to go. If more people like  Manny, Gloria Taylor and Richard Taylor can change a system then may be one day racism will come to an end.

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