Sam Jones

Journal 1Pg. 1-57

The main character in Mississippi Trial 1955 is Hiram Hilburn. Hiram lives a hard life, from a very young age he has lived with his grandparents because his father was in the war so he never got an advanced education. In order for Hiram’s dad to provide for the family, Mr. Hilburn goes to college while Mrs. Hilburn, Hiram’s mother, teaches at an elementary school. The book takes place in Greenwood, Mississippi in the 1950’s. Hiram loves every minute of living with his grandparents; his grampa and Hiram a daily routine that they strictly follow. After four years of college Mr. Hilburn lands a job teaching at the University of Arizona. Since Mr. Hilburn will have a steady income, he wants to put his family back together and move out west. Hiram has no intention of moving so far away from his grampa but doesn’t have any say in his father’s decision
to move. Later in this section of the book, Hirams grandfather has a stroke. Since Hiram’s family moved 6 years ago, Hiram has not seen his grandfather. Hiram really misses his grandfather and Greenwoood, Mississippi where he was raised; Hiram thinks that this is the perfect time to go visit his grandfather and convince his parents to let him take the train from Tempe Arizona to Greenwood, Mississippi to spend with his summer vacation with his grandfather. When Hiram gets finaly gets to Greenwood after a grueling three day long train trip he is glad to be back. After a few weeks of being back he starts to realize why his dad hated the south so much. Hiram witnesses racism first hand and now truly understands why his family moved to Tempe, Arizona.

I am not usually a big fan of reading, but this book really makes me want to keep reading. I like how the author tells the story from Hiram’s point of view because it is much easier to relate to. From this point of view I can understand and infer Hiram’s thoughts and feelings on tough subjects that are going on in the south such as racism, having “help” around the house, and people working the fields for crops. Even though Hiram was alive in the 1950's, I was shocked that he didn't know what kind of racism happened in the south. I later went on to learn that this trial was one of the early sparks of the civil rights movement, and then it made sense that he hadn't heard anything on the new about civil rights. Overall I look forward to continue reading this book to see how Hiram’s life works out and what types of difficulties he goes through.

-Civil Rights Movement
-Greenwood Mississippi
-Black life in the south
-Crops in the south
-Yazoo River

click here to watch a video on Emmett Till ^^^^^^^^

Journal 2 pg 58-114

After a few weeks of living with his grandfather, Hiram starts hanging out with some of the kids in the neighborhood that he knew as a child. One day, Hiram and his friend, R.C., decide to go fishing. R.C. is the typical redneck that most people think about when they think of the south before civil rights movements: racist to black people, think whites are far more superior than any other race, and thinks he is above the law. While fishing, a young black kid that knows Hiram, Emmett, approached them. Not knowing that R.C. was not a fan of black people, Emmett asked Hiram for some food they had brought. R.C. did not like that Emmett had asked a white person for food, so he decided to take a fish that he had caught, tear its guts out, and force the guts down Emmett’s throat. This is the first time in the book that something absoultly horrific has happened between whites and blacks, but I am positive there are more to come.

When Emmett decided to approach Hiram and R.C., my stomach churned in fear for Emmett. While reading the part that talked about what R.C. was doing to Emmett, it reminded me of when I was younger we would have snowball fights and make each other eat the snow. After reading what R.C. did to Emmett, I knew that R.C. was not harmless like everyone in Greenwood thought he was. I don't care how old you are or what your reason is but what R.C. did was plain wrong in every way possible. This made me think that if R.C. can do something so awful and not lose a minute of sleep over it, then there is more to come from him later in the book.

- Jim Crow laws
- Emmett Till
- Trial of Emmett Till
- Corruptness in the south

Journal 3 pg. 115-171

In this section the young black boy from Chicago, Emmett, is inside of a pharmacy with some other black kids when a pretty white women walks in. After the lady is finished with her shopping and starts to walk out the door, she hears a whistle. When the lady gets back to her house she tells her husband that a few black boys whistled at her while she was in the pharmacy. Being a white man from the south, the husband does not like this and decides to take matters into his own hands. That night the husband gets a couple of his buddies together to go rough up Emmett. That night, the men barged into Emmett's house, threatened to kill his uncle, and yanked Emmett out of bed to teach him a lesson. While they are roughing up Emmitt they go to far and kill him, they tie him up to a heavy object, shoot him in the head, and throw him in the Tallahatchie River.

At the beginning of this section, I thought nothing of the women telling her husband that she heard a couple of black kids whistle at her until the husband was furious and stated that he was going to teach him a lesson. During the part where he and his friends are beating on Emmett I kept wondering when they were going to stop and how they were going to get away with what they did. After I found
emmett_till_murderers.jpg out they had killed Emmett, I thought that the murders would get away with what they have done because they live in the south, but I was proven wrong. The sheriff in Greenwood rounded up the suspects of the murder and brought them into the sheriffs department for further examination.

-Mississippi Trial
-Emmitt Till's Mother
-Civil Rights media
-Courts in the south
-Cases like Emmitt Till’s

Journal 4 pg 171-229

In the last section of the book my nerves were constantly on end. These last chapters are about the actual trial of the men accused of killing Emmett Till. Earlier in the book Hiram had told the sheriff some information he knew about R.C. Rydell. Because of this Hiram was ordered to stay in town and testify in court about the information he knew. Hiram’s grandfather really did not like the idea of his grandson testify against a white man in an interacial court simply because people in the south never liked the concept of a white person taking sides with a black person. However Hiram is a very strong willed boy and knows that his testimony may solve the case, so he decides to go against his grandpa’s wishes and testify against R.C. Rydell. During the trial R.C. proves that he was in Jackson, Mississippi the night that the murder took place. More importantly, Milam and Bryant, the accused killers, were indicted for murder. All though these two were indicted for murder, Emmett was still dead. The greatest thing that came from this trial was the media coverage. The media showed the entire world what has been going on in the south.

If I had to describe these chapters in one word, that word would be: electrifying. While reading about the trial, the defendants would make very good points and leave prosecution speechless. This worried me because I thought that the jury wouldn’t be able to reach a verdict due to insufficient evidence and Milam and Bryant would get away with murder. all I really enjoyed this book and was shocked that my mom recommended me a book as good as this one. Even though I have finished reading the book, I am sure there are some untold facts, and I plan on researching them to find out every detail of this case.

-Trial of Milam and Bryant
-R.C. Rydell
-Media Coverage on Trial
-News Around the Nation
-How Trial Changed Greenwood