Three White male students at the University of Mississippi were suspended from the Kappa Alpha fraternity after it was revealed that they posted an offensive photograph on social media. The photograph showed the three students armed with guns and smiling in front of a historical marker designating where the body of Emmett Till was found in 1955. The sign was riddled with bullet holes.
The university call the photograph “offensive and hurtful” but took no action to suspend or expel the students, citing free speech concerns. The matter was referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation but no action was taken because the photograph posed no specific threat to public safety.
Emmett Till was a teenager from Chicago who spent the summer of 1955 with relatives in Mississippi. Till was accused of whistling at a White women. For this alleged violation of the unwritten laws of Jim Crow, Till was brutally murdered and his death became a lightening rod for the civil rights movement when a photograph of his beaten and bloated body was published in Jet magazine. A trial with an all-White jury acquitted two White men of Till’s murder. The men later boasted in an interview with Look magazine that they had committed the murder.