Symbol of Civil Rights movement sits in ruin, awaiting a buyer

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MONEY, Miss. -— The place where the civil rights movement began now lies in ruin.

Bryant Grocery and Meat Market has been broken by years of neglect and battered by high winds from Hurricane Katrina, but few have forgotten the events during the summer of 1955 that started here with a wolf-whistle and ended with the slaying of a black teenager named Emmett Till.

"Like the Liberty Bell, it's the symbol of the movement," said state Sen. David Jordan, D-Greenwood. "That ought not to be lost."

Leflore County Tax Assessor Leroy Ware said the store isn't worth a penny on the county's books, but that didn't stop owners from initially asking local officials last year for $40 million for the crumbling store before reducing their price to $4 million.

Local officials say they balked at the price, countering with a $50,000 offer. Talks broke off, and the store has continued to rot, despite being placed on the Mississippi Heritage Trust's list of 10 Most Endangered Historic Places.

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