On Sept. 4 Simeon Wright, one of the witnesses to the abduction of Emmett Till in 1955, died at the age of 74. The below story is an account of the kidnapping from Till’s great aunt, Mrs. Moses Wright and Curtis Jones, a second cousin of Till’s. Simeon Wright is mentioned, although not named, as being in the room during the kidnapping.

Youth aroused from sleep to be executed

Sept. 17, 1955

Chicago (NNPA) New details of the kidnapping preceding the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till were told Friday after the body of the Chicago youth arrived to be buried.

The accounts were given by Mrs. Moses Wright, 55, of Money, Miss., a great aunt of Emmett and Curtis Jones, 17, a Grane Tech senior and second cousin of Emmett. Both returned from Mississippi for the funeral.

“We knew they were out to mob the boy,” said Mrs. Wright. “They came and took the boy and killed him.”

“When I heard the men at the door, I ran to Emmett’s room so I could get him out the back door into the cotton fields. But they were already in the front door before I could shake him awake.”

Jones, who is a grandson of the Wrights, also recalled hearing his grandfather, Mose, make a futile plea to the kidnappers that they only whip Emmett.

“My grandfather told them that he (Emmett) didn’t have good sense because he had polio when he was 3-years-old and that his mind and speech had been affected,” Jones said.

They placed the time of the kidnapping at 2 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 28. Wednesday, Aug. 31, Emmett’s body was found weighted down in the Tallahatchie River. There was a bullet hole in the head and evidence of severe beating.

Roy Bryant, 25, a grocer in Money, and a half brother, J.W. Milan, 40, have since been arrested on kidnapping charges. A charge of kidnapping has been issued against Mrs. Bryant, who has not been found by deputy sheriffs.

Also in the house at the time were three boys, aged 12 to 16, of the Wrights, and Willard Parker, 16, of Argo, a Chicago suburb, another grandson there on a visit.

After the elder Wright asked that the boy be given a whipping one of the men said: “He isn’t going no place if he ain’t the right one. We’ll bring him back and put him to bed.”

Jones said his grandfather, Mose Wright, then went to the porch and heard a woman in the car answer “yes” as the two men brought Emmett before her. Emmett was then placed in the car. It was the last time he was seen alive.