Have we learned nothing from history; Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it – George Santayana

   It was only 56 years ago a 14 year old boy by the name of Emmett Till was brutally murdered, his “crime”? He flirted with a white woman while visiting relatives in Mississippi. Because he whistled at a woman, men acted evilly took it upon themselves to go after Emmett and brutally murder him. When his body was recovered the extent of his injuries was horrific, I don’t even want to type them here. Emmett’s mom who raised him did something purposeful at this funeral, she had an open casket; she made her son’s tragic death visible to the world at large, a symbol of visible brutality and tragedy in a life cut short.

In today’s recent headlines there’s talk about Trayvon Martin; a 17 year old who was walking to where his father’s girlfriend lived, who wore a hoodie and had on him Skittles and iced tea. He was gunned down because his shooter said he was “suspicious” and yet no weapon was found on Trayvon. A man acted in an evil manner took it upon himself to respond in the most horrific of ways, by killing another human being.

There are correlations between Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin, but what gets to me is that in both cases innocent blood spilled on the ground, and as I reread the account of the first murder recorded in the Bible I read Genesis 4:10 – “The LORD said [to Cain], “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”

Blood cries out to God from the ground…Emmett’s blood as well as Trayvon’s. There are also the cries of those directly affected, there are cries from the nations who are rightly upset at such tragedy and pain. I too weep at such a horrific end of life ended barely after it started, life is a precious gift from God and to have that life taken away by another human being is heartbreaking.


Whatever the outcome is in this recent murder, God is in control and his justice will prevail, but I am let thinking and wondering and somewhat yelling at God HAVE WE NOT LEARNED FROM HISTORY? WHY DO WE KEEP MAKING SUCH HORRIBLE MISTAKES TIME AND TIME AGAIN? Because as the quote I mentioned above says we’re condemned to keep making such horrible choices and mistakes if we don’t progress and learn from what was done. I don’t want humanity to be caught in the past that’s destructive, and with Trayvon’s death it seems as we’re condemned to repeat what unfolded 50+ years ago in the case of Emmett.

May God’s justice prevail in these troubled times,
May God give peace and comfort to Trayvon’s family and friends in this time and in time to come.



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