With virtual reality, panoramic video and great detail, The New York Times today published Emmett Till’s Murder, and How America Remembers Its Darkest Moments. Please see the article for photos of the hollowed-out shell of the store that the Bryant’s think is worth $4m.
The price of Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, according to one Mississippi newspaper, is $4 million, but it’s hard to know more because the family has largely refused to talk publicly about it. Numerous messages and emails sent to the Tribbles for this story went unreturned.
In 2011, the family was awarded a $206,000 state civil rights grant to restore a gas station next to the store. At the time, the project’s architect described the store restoration as the next phase. Since 2015, Mr. Weems has negotiated with family members, to no avail.
There’s talk in town of a replica being built on state property across the street by one of the production companies filming movies about the Emmett Till case. That may be the only solution.
“It’s been complicated working with the family,” Mr. Weems said. “We have had off and on discussions with the Tribbles for about three years and it seems as if every time we get close, they move the goal post.
“And I still don’t know what they want,” he added. “I don’t know if it’s money or they want control of the story that’s told, which has direct legacy implications for their father. I am hopeful that one day they can see a positive legacy by reclaiming the past.”
Today, fewer than 100 people live in Money and most of the property, including the old Bryant’s Grocery store, is owned by the children of Ray Tribble.
As early as 2004, local business and civic leaders reached out to the Tribble family in hopes of turning the store into a museum dedicated to Emmett or civil rights, or both, even in its current state of disrepair.
That same year, the roof caved in. Then Hurricane Katrina rumbled through in 2005, destroying much of what remained. Back then, the Tribble family agreed to work to rebuild the store. “We want to restore it,” Mr. Tribble’s son, Harold Ray Jr., told The Clarion Ledger in 2007. “It’s a part of history and it’s about to fall down.”
Nothing has been done. And every day, the store slips closer toward oblivion.
“Here is this ruin that a storm could blow over, and yet it’s still here,” said Dave Tell, an author and professor working on a new book about the Emmett Till case.
“The store is this great analogy to the story of Emmett Till, both long neglected, but both refuse to go away.”