Death of Trayvon Martin draws comparisons with 1955 Emmett Till murder

UNDATED (AP) — For some, the death of an unarmed black teen by a Florida neighborhood watch captain in 2012 has similarities to a racially-charged murder in 1955, when Emmett Till was stalked and killed by racists for flirting with a white woman.

The circumstances are different but the racially-charged atmosphere is not.

The Till saga is viewed as a symbol of the brutal segregation that gave rise to the civil rights movement, while the Trayvon Martin case shows a continuing racial divide.

A jury must decide if George Zimmerman, who reported Martin as a “suspicious” person “up to no good,” was acting in self-defense when he shot the teen, or if the shooting was unjustified and possibly based on race.

Christopher Darden, a prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, says it will be hard for jurors to objectively look at the evidence, because of the emotion involved.

Sound: 5:32 aed

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APPHOTO NY961: FILE – This combination of photos from 1955 and 2009 shows Emmett Till in Chicago, about six months before he was killed, and Trayvon Martin in an aircraft hanger. Six decades and myriad details separate the deaths of Till and Martin, two black teenagers felled by violence. Yet in the way America reacted to Trayvon’s death – and the issues that echoed afterward – his case has created a national racial conversation in the much same manner as the saga of Emmett, infamously murdered in 1955 for flirting with a white woman. (AP Photo/File) (22 May 1905)

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APPHOTO NY964: FILE – In this Thursday, April 12, 2012 file photo, George Zimmerman, center, stands with a Seminole County Deputy and his attorney Mark O’Mara, right, during a court hearing in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool) (12 Apr 2012)

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APPHOTO NY965: FILE – In this Sept. 30, 1955 file photo, Roy Bryant, right, and his half-brother, J. W. Milam, second from right, walk down the steps of the Leflore County Courthouse in Greenwood, Miss. after being freed on bond, charged in the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till. Bryant and Milam eventually were acquitted by an all-white jury of murdering the black 14-year-old visiting from Chicago, but confessed to the killing in a 1956 Look magazine article. Till’s death was a catalyst for the civil rights movement. (AP Photo) (30 Sep 1955)

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