An American Tragedy
Chapter Sixteen: Disposable Images of Our HipHoprisy: Trayvon Martin Stares at Emmett Till
Disposable Images of Our HipHoprisy: Trayvon Martin Stares at Emmett Till
TODD STEVEN BURROUGHS
Willie Reed, who became famous briefly in Mississippi in the mid-twentieth century, died in the summer of 2013. I had never heard of him—or Willie Louis either, for that matter. And I consider myself more than slightly conversant about what Black people used to call the Freedom Struggle and what everyone now calls the Civil Rights Movement. After all, over the past twenty-five years I have watched both series of PBS’s Eyes on the Prize a gazillion times and read a total of ten (!) books on the Movement and many of its characters. I even helped write a couple of Movement coffee-table books, for Ogun’s sake!
No, I never heard of either Willie. Reading his New York Times obituary published July 20, 2013, I discovered that Mr. Reed did something so brave that he could only be a Black man in the Deep South, standing up for what was right. It was such a courageous act that Willie Reed had to die and be replaced by Willie Louis.
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