Moses Wright's Home Site
Money, MS

On August 20, 1955, Emmett Till caught a train in Chicago down to Mississippi with his cousin Wheeler Parker, Jr., and his great-uncle Moses Wright who was in Chicago for a funeral. After hearing Moses Wright's stories of fishing and outdoor adventures in the South, Emmett wanted to accompany his best friend Wheeler to the Mississippi Delta during his last stretch of summer break. A week later, late in the evening on August 28, 1955, Emmett Till was kidnapped from Elizabeth and Moses Wright's home in Money by at least four people. 

The Wrights were sharecroppers on the Grover Frederick Plantation and grew 25 acres of cotton. They moved into this six-room house around 1946.  Compared to many in the Delta, the Wrights lived relatively comfortably with an electric refrigerator and new washing machine. (1)  In 1955, their three youngest children still lived with them.

The incident at Bryant's Grocery occurred on August 24th. Late on August 28th, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam showed up at Moses Wright's home with a gun. As described by Devery Anderson in Emmett Till: The Murder that Shocked the World:

Suddenly, Mose was awakened by a loud knock at the door and a voice calling out, 'Preacher, Preacher.' When Mose asked who was there, a man answered and identified himself as 'Mr. Bryant.' He said he wanted to talk to Wright and 'the boy.' Elizabeth, who by then knew of Wednesday's store incident, was also awakened. She realized immediately that the boy Bryant wanted was Emmett. She got up, went to Emmett's bedroom, and attempted to get him up and out the back door to hide in the cotton fields. 'We knew they were out to mob the boy,' she soon explained. 'But they were already in the front door before I could shake him awake.'  (2)

Moses and Elizabeth pleaded for them to not take Emmett and even offered money. However, Milam and Bryant still left with Emmett. They threatened Moses Wright to not identify them: "Well, if you know any of us here tonight, then you will never live to get to be sixty-five." (3) Emmett was never seen alive again. 

Moses Wright's home featured prominently in the murder trial, as the prosecutor framed the home as the site at which the crime of Emmett Till's murder began--with his kidnapping. (4) Moses Wright made the brave decision to testify at the trial about the kidnapping, despite the threat from Milam and Bryant. In one of the most riveting moments of the trial, Moses Wright was asked to the men who kidnapped Emmett Till. He stood. "There he is," he said, pointing directly at J.W. Milam. "And there is Mr. Bryant." (5)

Mose Wright Courthouse.jpg

Moses Wright pointing at J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant as the men who kidnapped Emmett Till.

Following the trial, Moses Wright knew he could not stay in Mississippi. He sold his livestock, abandoned his unpicked crop of cotton, and left his truck at the train station. With the help of Dr. TRM Howard and Medgar Evers, he made his way to Chicago to join his wife, Elizabeth, who had not returned to their house in Money since the night of the kidnapping. 

The home was destroyed by a tornado in 1971. (6) The home site is now an empty field.

Footnotes

  1. Devery Anderson, Emmett Till: The Murder that Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement, University Press of Mississippi, 2015, pp. 22-23.

  2. ibid, p. 36.

  3. ibid, p. 37.

  4. Dave Tell, Davis Houck, Pablo Correa & the Emmett Till Memorial Commission, Emmett Till Memory Project, 2021, https://tillapp.emmett-till.org/items/show/13.

  5. Mamie Till-Mobley and Christopher Benson, Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime that Changed America, One World, 2003, p. 174.  

  6. Dave Tell, Davis Houck, Pablo Correa & the Emmett Till Memorial Commission, Emmett Till Memory Project, 2021https://tillapp.emmett-till.org/items/show/13.