‘Women of the Movement’: What Happened to Mose Wright and His Family After Emmett Till’s Trial?

In ABC’s Women of the Movement, Uncle Mose Wright (portrayed by Glynn Turman) testified against the murderers at Emmett Till’s trial despite putting the life of him and his family at risk in the Jim Crow South. However, when the trial ended, viewers watched as Mose (also known as Preacher) gave his dog to a friend and moved his entire family to Chicago, Illinois. What happened to Uncle Mose Wright and his family after the Emmett Till trial in 1955? Marissa Jo Cerar, Jay-Z and Will Smith serve as executive producers on the limited series.

'Women of the Movement' Glynn Turman portrays Mose Wright pointing in the courtroom
‘Women of the Movement’: Glynn Turman | ABC/James Van Evers

‘Women of the Movement’ Episode 6 recap: Mose Wright moves to Chicago

In Women of the Movement Episode 6, “The Last Word,” the jurors in the Emmett Till murder case found Roy Bryant (Carter Jenkins) and J. W. Milam (Chris Coy) not guilty, after deliberating for only 67 minutes. Women of the Movement cast members Julia McDermott and Amanda Jaros joined the two men afterward to talk to reporters as Carolyn Bryant and Juanita Milam. The two couples reenacted the smiles and kisses on camera as if the men did nothing wrong, mimicking the news reports from 1955. 

Meanwhile, Mose Wright packed up the last few things in his home in Mississippi to move to Chicago after the trial ended. The 64-year-old man handed over his dog to his friend Paul who told him, “It takes guts to get up there on the stand. You know what else? Leaving takes guts too.”

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Then Mose got on a train with his three boys, Simeon Wright (Jamir Vega), Maurice Wright (Luke Hardeman), and Robert Wright (Khai Alexander Hart). They headed North to build a new life in Chicago. His wife, Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Wright (Vivian Fleming-Alvarez), met them at the station. That’s the last we saw the Wright family in Women of the Movement.

What happened to Mose Wright after the Emmett Till trial?

After the murder trial in Women of the Movement, Mose Wright returned to testify in the kidnapping trial of Bryant and Milam. However, the grand jury did not indict the two men for kidnapping despite the testimony from Wright and Willie Reed. Dr. T.R.M. Howard (portrayed by Alex Desert) arranged the safe relocation of Mose Wright. 

According to T. R. M. Howard: Doctor, Entrepreneur, Civil Rights Pioneer by David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, Dr. Howard paid the cost of relocating Mose Wright and his family to Chicago. The doctor wanted to protect those who testified in the Emmett Till trial. 

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PBS reported that Mose Wright could feel the “blood boil” in the white people seated in the courtroom when he testified. After the kidnapping jury refused to indict Bryant and Milam, Mose Wright never returned to Mississippi again. He died on Aug. 3, 1977, in Chicago.

‘Women of the Movement’: What happened to Willie Reed?

Myron Parker Wright portrayed 18-year-old Willie Reed in Women of the Movement. He testified that he saw Milam enter the shed where Emmett’s screams echoed. He was a farmhand at the time. Reed testified in both the murder and kidnapping trials of Bryant and Milam. Immediately after the trials, Dr. Howard paid to relocate Reed to the Chicago area. 

According to The New York Times, Reed changed his name to Willie Louis to hide from those who wanted him dead. When he arrived in Chicago, he received around-the-clock police protection, but it didn’t help his fears. Shortly after relocating, Reed was “hospitalized with a nervous breakdown.” 

He kept his testimony a secret from everyone, including his wife, until a relative told her. The first time he spoke publicly about the events was in the PBS documentary. He worked as a nurse orderly in Chicago and died on July 18, 2013.

All six of ABC’s Women of the Movement episodes are available for streaming on Hulu on Jan. 21, 2022.