The Link Between Hurricane Katrina, Emmett Till, Racism, and Climate Change

Longreads

As Mary Heglar remembers the chaos, human suffering, and racist radio coverage in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — which hit the day after the 50th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till — she considers how racism, discrimination, and climate change are inextricably linked. Read her beautiful essay at Guernica.

The other thing often forgotten, but which I can never forget, was that Katrina descended the day after the 50th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till. If you are black, and especially if you grew up in the South, the name “Emmett Till” brought immediate, arresting, gruesome images to mind. The name sank to the bottom of your stomach like a bag of rocks—or like the cotton gin fan that weighed down his barely pubescent body to make it surrender to the Tallahatchie River.

I remembered the meteorologists explaining how hurricanes start off the coast of Africa…

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