By John Blake, CNN
(CNN) - Both were African-American teenagers who left home and never came back. Both forced the nation to talk about unwritten racial codes. Both didn’t live to see what symbols they became.
Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till.
They died 57 years apart, but their names and legacies may be forever merged. Some are saying Martin, a 17-year-old black teenager who was shot to death by a white Hispanic neighborhood watchman is on the verge of becoming this generation’s Emmett Till.
Thousands of angry Americans – of various races - have taken to Facebook and news sites and the streets to compare Martin’s fate to Till, the 14-year-old black boy who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly violating an unwritten Southern racial code by whistling at a white women.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.