Emmylou Harris

My Name Is Emmett Till

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I was born a black boy
My name is Emmett Till
I walked this earth for fourteen years
Then one night I was killed
For speaking to a woman
Whose skin was as white as dough
That's a sin in Mississippi
But how was I to know

I'd come down from Chicago
To visit with my kin
Up there I was a cheeky kid
I guess I always been
But the harm they put upon me
Was too hard for what I done
For I was just a black boy
I never hurt no one

They took me from my uncle's house
Mose Wright was his name
He'd later stand and without hesitation
Point the blame
At the ones who beat and cut me
And shot me with a gun
Then threw me in the river
Like I was trash when they were done

I was sent back to my mother
At least what was left of me
She kept my casket open
For the whole wide world to see
The awful desecration
And the evidence of hate
You could not recognize me
The mutilation was so great

There came a cry for justice then
To be finally fulfilled
All because of me, a black boy
My name is Emmett Till

But I'd have rather lived
'Til I was too old to die young
Not miss all I left behind
All that might have come
The summer clouds above my head
The grass beneath my feet
The warmth of a good woman
Her kisses soft and sweet

Perhaps to be a father
With a black boy of my own
And watch him grow into
A kinder world than I had known

Where no child would be murdered
For the color of his skin
And love would be the only thing
Inside the hearts of men

They say the horror of that night
Is still haunting heaven still
Where I am one more black boy
My name is Emmett Till

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