Simeon Wright

Age 74




CHICAGO (AP) — Simeon Wright, who was with his cousin Emmett Till when the Chicago boy was kidnapped in 1955 after whistling at a white woman in Mississippi, has died. He was 74.

Till, who was 14, spent the summer of 1955 visiting relatives in Mississippi and was kidnapped, tortured and killed after whistling at a white woman working at a store in the rural hamlet of Money. His death galvanized the civil rights movement when his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, insisted on an open-casket funeral in Chicago to show the world her son's mutilated body.

Wright's cousin, Airickca Gordon-Taylor, said Tuesday that Wright died of cancer Monday at his Chicago-area home. Wright described Till as a "fun-loving guy," and said he witnessed his cousin whistle at Carolyn Bryant as a group of boys left Bryant's Grocery & Meat Market after buying snacks on Aug. 24, 1955.

"It scared us half to death," Wright recalled at the University of Mississippi in October 2010. "Some said, 'Why'd he do it?' I said, I think he just wanted us to laugh. He wasn't trying to be fresh. He just wanted to let the boys in Mississippi know, 'Hey, I'm from Chicago. I can do this. I'm not afraid.' He had no idea what was going to happen."

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Wright, who was 12, was sharing a bed with Till on Aug. 28, 1955, when he saw J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant come into his family's home with pistols and kidnap Till. Roy Bryant was married to Carolyn Bryant, and Milam was his half brother. An all-white Mississippi jury acquitted the two men in Till's death, but they later confessed in a magazine interview.

Wright said the verdict was unjust.

"So if you ever get on a jury, if the evidence is there, regardless of what color the person is, do the right thing," Wright said in 2010. "If they had done the right thing back in 1955, we would've forgotten about Emmett right now. But the verdict enraged everybody."

Wright's wife, Annie Wright, told the Chicago Tribune her husband lived quietly in suburban Chicago for much of his life, but in the 2000s he became more vocal about Till. Wright published a book, "Simeon's Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett Till," including a chapter on the night Till was abducted.

"He really wanted people to know what happened that night," Annie Wright said. "There were so many versions. When I first met him, he never talked about it. But then he wanted people to know the injustices and indignities."

At the University of Mississippi in 2010, Wright recalled that his own mother cried and pleaded with the men not to take Till.

"I just can't describe it," Wright said. "It's a night I'll never forget. Yet, I'm not bitter."

Wright said he found comfort in his Christian faith and realized when he was in his 20s that "hatred would kill you or get you killed."


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Guest Book

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I am very sad to learn Mr. Wright passed away about 2 years ago. I wish I would have known him in life. I have researched the killing of Emmett Till for years and I grew to admire and respect Mr. Wright. I hope he is in heaven having a piece of gum and a soda with Emmett.

I never met Mr.wright but his courage and strength for telling what happened to his cousin Emmit Till I will always remember! Thank you for keeping his legacy alive and I will always remember and appreciate you! you and Emmit and your father and mother can rejoice once again in heaven! Take your rest and a bow! I will always remember your passion to keep this story alive all your life! Rest in Heaven Mr. Wright. Sending love and light from Montgomery AL.


In this time of Unrest. I give honor for the life of a man who saw the uncivil way black men were treated less than human. Rest for one day we will see the change that you very much hoped for.

May Mr Wrights family find peace and comfort from our God who is not partial.

I have watched "The untold story of Emmett Till" and I was moved by the quiet strength and dignity of Mr. Moses Wright and his amazing family, who witnessed and lived an unspeakable tradgedy which culminated in the death of young Emmett Till. His story is eloquently told in the passionate statements by those who witnessed this dark saga, along with Emmett's cousin, Mr. Simeon Wright. The agony suffered on that painful journey by this family, stands as a living legacy of...

Dear The till Family.
First of all,I know it,s hard to believe after all these years that this great man had live out his life,and not seeing justice for his cousin.But this man can live in heaven now and to see Emmett Till once again.And i know that Emmett was waiting for him.But I can say that as a country as a whole we cant give up on this fight for justice.And i,m hoping that one day something will and can perveil.My best wishes to the family, and stay strong.

Rest well Cousin. It was a pleasure to get to know you over these last few years. From the family of your Cousin Irma Wright-Wilson, the daughter of Ivy Wright. I am the daughter of Irma Wright-Wilson. Kathie Wilson. GOD SPEED!

Offering my heartfelt condolences and prayers to the Simeon's wife and extended loving family. May Almighty God in his infinite wisdom grant solace to the families and friends during this most challenging time. Simeon was truly an amazing and courageous man of integrity. Rest assured that God has a perfect memory and will restore this earth into a paradise soon. With Love & Prayers ~