Chicago, Illinois, incorporated as a city in 1837 located on the shores of Lake Michigan, is the third largest city in America with only 2.7 million people but surprisingly ranks as seventh in the world of cities with the most completed skyscrapers of over 500 feet.
The great city may be overrun by crime on the south side of this great city but it was also built on the backs of many famous scientists, academic savants, and engineers. There are plenty of non-celebrity famous people you could choose from Chicago if you wanted to bring notoriety to the greatness of the city.
And the White Sox tried to do just that recently; prominently displaying some famous people from Chicago on their outfield board but one they chose was an absolutely disgusting choice.
The Chicago White Sox have long been an embarrassment of Major League Baseball since the days of power hitter Frank Thomas in the 1990s. Much like the relationship between New York Mets to New Yorkers is similar to that of the White Sox to Chicagoans – they’ll always play second fiddle to the Cubs and Yankees.
But they’ve still got to entertain the audience despite how abysmal the White Sox have been for decades.
And during a break in action at a recent game, the park’s big screen prominently displayed “Other famous people from the Chicagoland include” with a picture of “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak, “Citizen Kane” director and star Orson Welles and a picture of Emmett Till in the middle.
Do you remember who Emmett Till was? Here’s a history refresher if you don’t, but the tale of Till’s infamy is not for the faint of heart.
In 1955, Till was visiting family in Mississippi when the 14-year-old boy was in a grocery store with his cousins when he began telling them that his girlfriend back home was Caucasian and much to his cousins’ dismay. They didn’t believe him.
That’s when his cousins dared him to ask the white woman clerk sitting behind the counter out on a date. He did just that, as nearly every kid would take an innocent dare like this seriously, and upon leaving said to the woman, “Bye baby.”
A few days later, the white woman’s husband, Roy Bryant, returned home from a business trip and was enraged upon hearing the story. Except, his wife told him Emmett grabbed her, made lewd comments and even wolf-whistled as he sauntered out of the grocery store.
Bryant and his brother-in-law J.W. Milam drove to Till’s uncle’s place – forced Emmett into the car and lynched him. When Emmett’s body was discovered, it was mangled unrecognizable.
When both Bryant and Milam were acquitted of Emmett’s death, that’s when Emmett became a symbol of southern violence against the African Americans leading into the Civil Rights movement.
That’s who the Chicago White Sox felt was a “famous person from Chicago,” but it should go without saying that the context of his brutal death, the reason why the Chicago White Sox apparently viewed him as a “famous” person from Chicago, was the behest of something that should never have happened in the first place.
Emmett Till is posthumously infamous because of racism and judicial injustice.
Also, this is supposed to be some sort of lighthearted trivia at a ballpark where Emmett was sandwiched between a television game show host and a prolific filmmaker?
It was quite clear they wanted to put a prominent African American up there alongside Sajak and Welles, but this was a massive fail.
It’s not clear but this could’ve been someone on the White Sox staff sending an intentionally racist message.
In no way should the memory of Emmett Till and what happened to him ever perish, but the context of prominently displaying his picture at a sporting event is gross and tone-deaf.