In August of 1955 Emmitt Till made history. This is not what he wanted but when he was tortured and murdered in Mississippi for supposedly “whistling” at a white woman. His mother Mamie Till always stood strong to her belief that her son would never do that but the story as told by Carolyn Bryant held strong for decades. Until 2017 when in an interview Mrs. Bryant came clean and admitted that she had lied, that Emmitt never whistled at her. This story will forever be a part of American history for the horrific crime and the justice that never came for the Till family. In Justice Song we see Mamie and Carolyn at a fictional meeting at the gates of Heaven. For the first time Mamie is taken back in history, back to 1955 so that her and Carolyn can sip tea and have an honest conversation about Emmitt’s actual interaction with her. This story is pure fan fiction and does not depict any actual meeting, but if Mamie were able to ask Carolyn, if she were able to ask her what happened and why, what would that look like? Will the answers ever be enough to justify the murder? Will forgiveness ever people possible in such a horrific situation? In this lovely story we see two women grow, learn, and bring to an end one of the most difficult untold stories in American history, the “what if” conversation between a loving mother, and the woman that changed her life forever.
*This scene is complete fan fair and does not reflect actual events.
(The scene opens with an African American woman in her eighties singing a gospel song think “Rough Side of the Mountain.” She holds a book in her hand flipping through pages as she sings and hums, smiles and laughs. The music fuels her, it is clear that she is a believer of the hymnal she is singing. It becomes clear that she is standing in some sort of line. She peaks over the heads of the people that are standing in front of her. She finally reaches her destination, the line stops.)
Person: (Looking at a list) Good morning ma’am, welcome back.
Mamie Till: Morning. How are you today?
Person: Well I’m just fine, always nice to visit people but nothing better than coming on back home. Sun is shining and as you can see, everyone is happy.
Mamie Till: Very happy, and thankful. (He continues to look at the list and finds her name.)
Mamie Till: Yes?
Person: (Looking around) It seems that you have some unfinished business that you need to take care of before you can come back in. (He continues to look around until he seems to spot the person that he is looking for. Mamie turns and looks behind her. She begins to breath hard. She grabs her chest for a moment. The “person” is gone as a Caucasian woman the same age as present Mamie Till comes into site. They stare at each other for a few moments. It is important that this character at this time reads as genuine and sincere.)
Mamie Till: I had to die to get your face out of my head.
Carolyn Bryant: Are you alright?
Mamie Till: You.
Carolyn Bryant: (A faint smile.) Yes. Yes it’s me.
Mamie Till: (Looking around) How is she here? How in God’s name is she here?
Carolyn Bryant: Waiting for you Mamie Till.
Mamie Till: Don’t you ever say my name Carolyn Bryant. (Both women are now frozen staring at each other.)