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Who was Moses Wright, Emmett Till's uncle as civil rights series debuts?

Molly Young January 7, 2022
Who was Moses Wright, Emmett Till's uncle as civil rights series debuts?
Matthew Sayles/ABC via Getty Images

ABC’s civil rights series Women Of The Movement debuted on 6 January 2022. The show covers the story of Mamie Till Mobley, a mother who devoted her life to seeking justice for her son after Emmett Till’s brutal murder in Mississippi in 1955.

Here we meet Emmett Till’s great-uncle, Moses Wright, who played a huge part in the case. What happened to him and his descendants in the aftermath?

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Women of the Movement | Trailer

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Who was Moses Wright in Women Of The Movement?

Women Of The Movement introduces Moses Wright as Emmett Till’s great-uncle, portrayed in the series by American actor Glynn Turman.

Wright was a sharecropper and circuit preacher who became a nightclub custodian in the mid-1950s after his family moved to the Chicago suburbs.

Cheat Sheet reports that viewers may recognise Turman from How To Get Away With Murder, his role in Super 8 as Dr Woodward, and his features in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and John Dies At The End.

Emmett Till, played by 16-year-old Cedric Joe, leaves his home town of Chicago in 1955 to visit Money, Mississippi, and stay with his great-uncle.

The 14-year-old is warned about the culture in the Jim Crow South before being dared to enter a grocery store where he is accused of whistling at a white woman.

As reported by CNN, this mistaken situation sparks a flurry of racist hysteria, leading to Till’s abduction and brutal murder.

Also reportedly known as Mose and Preacher, Moses Wright was born on 8 April 1892 in Mississippi and died aged 85 in August 1977 at La Grange, Cook County, Illinois.

What was his role in Emmett Till’s case?

Wright’s household, including two of Emmett Till’s cousins, witnessed Till’s kidnapping on the night of 28 August 1955.

64-year-old Moses Wright played a huge part in bringing the murderers of his great-nephew to account.

When the trial began, Moses was encouraged by many not to testify but he defied all odds to do so.

PBS states that Moses Wright’s testimony in the trial of Emmett Till’s accused killers would go down in history as one of the bravest moments of the civil rights movement.

Left: Simeon, 12, and Maurice Wright, 16, cousins of the murdered Black boy, Emmett Till, sit in their home after being questioned. The boys and their father Moses Wright claim Roy Bryant and his half brother J.W. Milam kidnapped the boy from his home. The boy’s body was found in the Tallahatchie River and the kidnap charges have been changed to murder. Right: Moses Wright, 64, great uncle of the murdered boy holds some of Emmett’s clothing to show that he was a “large boy for his age.” Emmett had suffered from plio as a child and was somewhat handicapped. (Photo by Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

More about great-uncle Moses and his descendants

Moses Wright was the son of William Wright and husband of Elizabeth W Wright as well as Lucinda or Linda Wright, as listed on his Geni profile

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WOMEN OF THE MOVEMENT – Hour Two – After receiving the call that her son was kidnapped by white men in Mississippi, Mamie rallies her community in Chicago to bring Emmett home. As a result, Mamie is thrust into the spotlight while facing unimaginable tragedy. The series premiere of “Women of the Movement” airs THURSDAY, JAN. 6 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EST), on ABC. (James Van Evers/ABC via Getty Images) SEKOU LAIDLOW, GLYNN TURMAN, JAMIR VEGA, LUKE HARDEMAN

It was Simeon Wright, Moses Wright’s son, who identified his cousin’s ring for the police after Emmett Till’s body was found in the Tallahatchie River.

Five decades later, Simeon Wright also donated a sample of his DNA to help federal prosecutors prove the disfigured body was Emmett’s, as per The New York Times.

The son of Moses Wright, who was 12 at the time of Till’s murder, died in 2017 in a Chicago suburb at the age of 74 caused by complications arising from bone cancer.

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Molly Young is a Journalism with Public Relations student at Leeds Beckett University. Boasting a creative background through her studies and on her personal social media channels, Molly loves creating content and providing entertainment analysis through her writing.