The case has never been perfectly clear, but it seems that Till had told several of his African-American friends in Mississippi that back home in Chicago he had a white girlfriend - they did not believe him and so dared him to speak to a white woman while out in public. Whether Till actually spoke, or whether he whistled at a married white woman while in a grocery store in unclear, but the repercussions are unambiguous (Ownby 151). The boy was murdered because of his apparent audacity in addressing a white woman, and the death shocked people all over the country.
Mere months later, Rosa Parks found lasting fame and reverence because of her refusal to give up her seat on a city bus to a white passenger. At this time, segregation existed on buses and an African-American was not allowed to take the front seat of a bus, particularly if there was a white passenger who needed to sit down. Parks' civil disobedience led to the formation of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted for months and ultimately culminated in the 1956 decision of Alabama courts to rule that bus segregation is unconstitutional. ...Show more