After Emmett Till was murdered in rural Mississippi in the summer of 1955, his mother Mamie had his mutilated and decomposing body shipped back to Chicago, where she insisted on an open casket funeral, so 'the world [could] see what they did to [her] boy.'
Emmett's killers were acquitted by a jury of their white male peers, and the two men later went on to sell their confession to Look magazine. Mamie lobbied extensively for a federal trial, but her requests were denied. Despite the lack of justice in the case, though, Emmett Till's murder is widely regarded as one of the watershed moments in the civil rights movement.
For the rest of her life, Mamie Till spoke out about her son's murder. In an interview she gave last summer, six months before she died, she noted that despite the sickening nature of the crime against her only child, 'I have not spent one minute hating.' Anyone wanting to understand the central tenet of nonviolent protest need look no farther than those words.