The Death of Emmett Till

Bob Dylan

'Twas down in Mississippi not so long ago
When a young boy from Chicago town stepped through a
Southern door
This boy's dreadful tragedy I can still remember well
The color of his skin was black and his name was Emmett Till

Some men they dragged him to a barn and there they beat him up
They said they had a reason, but I disremember what
They tortured him and did some evil things too evil to
There was screaming sounds inside the barn, there was
Laughing sounds out on the street

Then they rolled his body down a gulf amidst a blood-red rain
And they threw him in the waters wide to cease his
Screaming pain
The reason that they killed him there, and I'm sure it
Ain't no lie
He was a black-skinned boy, so
He was born to die

And then to stop the United States of yelling for a trial
Two brothers they confessed that they had killed poor
Emmett Till
But on the jury there were men who helped the brothers
Commit this awful crime
And so this trial was a mockery, but nobody seemed to mind

I saw the morning papers but I could not bear to see
The smiling brothers walkin' down the courthouse stairs
For the jury found them innocent and the brothers they went free
While Emmett's body floats the foam of a Jim Crow southern sea

If you can't speak out against this kind of thing, a crime
That's so unjust
Your eyes are filled with dead men's dirt, your mind is
Filled with dust
Your arms and legs they must be in shackles and chains, and
Your blood it must refuse to flow
For you let this human race fall down so God-awful low!

This song is just a reminder to remind your fellow man
That this kind of thing still lives today in that
Ghost-robed Ku Klux Klan
But if all us folks that thinks alike, if we gave all we
Could give
We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live
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