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Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case

Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case

4.0 35
by Chris Crowe

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The kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till is famous as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old Black teenager from Chicago, was visiting family in a small town in Mississippi during the summer of 1955. Likely showing off to friends, Emmett allegedly whistled at a white woman. Three days later his brutally beaten body was found


The kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till is famous as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old Black teenager from Chicago, was visiting family in a small town in Mississippi during the summer of 1955. Likely showing off to friends, Emmett allegedly whistled at a white woman. Three days later his brutally beaten body was found floating in the Tallahatchie River. The extreme violence of the crime put a national spotlight on the Jim Crow ways of the South, and many Americans-Black and white-were further outraged at the speedy trial of the white murderers.  Although the two white men were tried and acquitted by an all-white jury, they later bragged publicly about the crime. It was a galvanizing moment for Black leaders and ordinary citizens, including such activists as Rosa Parks.  In clear, vivid detail Chris Crowe investigates the before-and-aftermath of the crime, as well as the dramatic court trial, and places it into the context of the nascent Civil Rights Movement.

With lively narrative and abundantly illustrated with forty fascinating contemporaneous photographs, this impressive work of nonfiction brings fresh insight to the case in a manner that will be accessible and eye-opening for teenagers and adults alike.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Crowe (Mississippi Trial, 1955) revisits the subject of his debut novel, this time as nonfiction, with an even more searing impact. He builds a strong argument that "the outrage that followed [Emmett's] death and the acquittal of his murderers finally launched the movement to combat racism in the United States." The opening scene, reconstructed from court statements and documents, tells how 14-year-old Emmett Till was taken from his great-uncle's Mississippi home, where the boy was visiting from Chicago, to be killed by two white men. Emmett's crime: he had allegedly whistled at and made `ugly remarks' to a white woman" in a 1955 segregated South where whites were still bristling from the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. The narrative then slows a bit to paint the historical scene, but quickly gains momentum again as Crowe compellingly describes Emmett's perspective, coming from an experience of comparative freedom in the north, as he entered the world of his southern relatives, thus setting a backdrop for tensions to unfold. Striking photographs illustrate an era of contradictions, such as an all-American boy brandishing a sign bearing a racist slogan. The acts of bravery may impress readers most, especially the decision by Maud Till Bailey, Emmett's mother, to open his casket and "Let the people see what they did to my boy," and his Uncle Mose Wright taking the stand to identify the white defendants (immediately thereafter, he had to flee Mississippi or risk being murdered himself). Crowe pays powerful tribute to a boy whose untimely death spurred a national chain of events. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Crowe's new book tells you all the same basic facts of Emmett Till's murder, but it also focuses on why it happened and what was done because of the crime. It dabbles in the minds of the murderers, Emmett's mother, and citizens of Mississippi. The author keeps stressing that the murder of Emmett Till was the breaking point that started the Civil Rights movement. Although not as gripping as Crowe's novel, this book is a necessity for anyone doing a report on the subject. Photos. Maps. Biblio. Further Reading. Chronology. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, Phyllis Fogelman Books/Penguin, 128p,
— Kristen Moreland, Teen Reviewer
This book is a nonfiction companion to Chris Crowe's Mississippi Trial: 1955, the story of the murder of Emmett Till, the trial that followed, and surrounding events. Emmett was a 14-year-old African-American youngster visiting relatives in Mississippi in 1955, who was kidnapped and murdered after alleged remarks made to a white woman. Although two white men, who later admitted to the murder in a magazine interview, were put on trial for murder, they were quickly acquitted by an all-white jury. This was a landmark event that helped to jumpstart the Civil Rights movement. Due to the graphic nature of this story (including one photo which appeared in a Chicago newspaper), it might be disturbing to younger readers. Nonetheless, it would be a good source to use when talking about the Civil Rights movement, and a good paired read with Crowe's aforementioned fictionalized account. 2003, Phyllis Fogelman Books, 128 pp., Ages young adult.
—Christie Van Sande
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-A wrenching account of the brutal killing of a 14-year-old black Chicagoan in Mississippi in 1955, his murderers' acquittal, and their subsequent confession. The writing brings the tenor of the times and the importance of this case into sharp focus. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.75(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.65(d)
1210L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Chris Crowe was born in Danville, Illinois, and attended schools in Illinois, New Mexico, and California before his parents settled down in Tempe, Arizona, where he graduated from McKemy Junior High and McClintock High School. He attended Brigham Young University on a football scholarship (and played in the 1974 Fiesta Bowl) and earned a BA in English. He taught English at McClintock High for 10 years while attending Arizona State University part-time, earning his masters and doctorate degrees.

He is the author of several books, most notably MISSISSIPPI TRIAL, 1955, which won several awards, including the 2003 International Reading Association's Young Adult Novel Award. His nonfiction book, GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER: THE TRUE STORY OF THE EMMETT TILL CASE, was an Jane Addams Honor book. His first children's book, JUST AS GOOD: HOW LARRY DOBY CHANGED AMERICA'S GAME, appeared in 2012. His newest book is a historical novel DEATH COMING UP THE HILL, scheduled to be released in October 2014.

Chris married his high school sweetheart, and they live in Provo, Utah, where he works in the English department at BYU. They are the parents of four children and grandparents of two lovely girls and three handsome boys.

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Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chris Crowe wrights about Emmett Till who triggered the Civil rights movement. Emmett who was born and raised in chicago goes to Money, Mississippi to visit his grandfather. I liked this book because it really goes into detail about the movement for Civil Rights. I would recommend this book to people who really interested in the Civil Rights movement.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books ever written. It portrayed the type of of racism that black people were put through, and everyone should learn about this. The best part of this novel was when the book told you about how the black people stood up for Emmett Till. I would recommend the novel to everyone because everyone should read this novel to learn about our history and some of the things that still may rome among us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very good well-researched book about one of the biggest causes of the civil rights movement. Describes the trial and murder of 14 year old Emitt Till, put down by racism. Living up in the north he doesn't understand how to act when he visits the south and that leads to his murder. Filled with an interesting racist trial, with enough evidence to convict anyone nowadays, yet still the murderes get away.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chris Crow writes the sad,short life of a 14 year old,African American boy who was brutally murdered by two racist white men. I liked this novel because it gets you hooked and makes you want to keep reading it.The author did a great job of giving true information in a creative interesting way and the pictures really add to the story. I would recomend this book to anyone looking for a sad,true story with many suprises along the way.
JuanitoChiquito More than 1 year ago
I finished reading Getting Away With Murder by Chris Crowe. This book really showed me a lot of how the civil rights movement started and how bad things were back in the day. African Americans were always separated from the whites, on the bus, schools, waiting rooms and restaurants; on buses they had to sit in the back. My point being, the Afro-Americans did not have equal rights they had less of everything or even nothing. Throughout the whole book I was shocked and I felt worried about everything because I didn't know how everything was going to go and I saw racism often. The author's craft was great he showed pictures of events that were important in the book and said why they were, he didn't just throw a random picture in the book. An example is where he put the picture of Emmet Till's face, he put in a caption that the face was deformed and bruised, he mentioned it a couple of times in the text too. He put everything in plain English, by this I mean you will understand everything he wrote. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is learning about African Americans back in the day and people who like non fiction murder cases. The problem in this non-fiction story was that two white men killed an African American fifteen year old boy, Emmet Till. The men were going to trial for this because all they had was the boy's body as evidence. There was many trials, in one of them the boy's uncle told the jury the two people who kidnapped him and are believed to kill the boy (everyone knows they did.) In the end of everything because of racism and other things they were found not guilty. I repeat NOT GUILTY, which is why the book is called "Getting Away With Murder." So I highly recommend this book to whoever is interested in knowing more about equal rights and stuff like that. I would rate this book a nine out of ten. I rated it this because, this was educational and entertaining. I really liked this book because not one time was I like, "Oh this is boring," I would always be surprised instead and excited to hear what happened next. Plus this book can be for various things wether it's learning about civil rights or African American rights, or for someone who likes murder books, someone who likes non-fiction and so on. This book will make you look at the world in a different way because there is a lot that has changed. So read for your needs or more information on this unfair case.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is probably one of the best books I have ever read. It lets the world know just how bad the racism was in the 1950's and 60's. It keeps you hooked throughout the whole book. I would recomrnd this book to teenagers and old people alike. It is a great book and is amust read for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like this book so much and at montebello we reading about this book.
efm More than 1 year ago
Tragic story of racial violence in 1955 Mississippi.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the worst book I have ever read. It is a waste ofv money and reading time. Do not get this book!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel will keep any reader interestsed in it.The suspense only builds and builds up and up from the moment this book begins,leaving you breathless.It will also give you some insight on Black History.I would have to say the worst part of this novel is in between the first and second chapter where the author continuosly repeats the same words over and over again.I would absolutely recommend this book to someone else.Because it informs the reader about the injustices done to those in the past and how a single race struggles to overcome these injustices.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was fantastic, it gave me details and history of events and places I didn't even know existed. I now have a better understanding of the hardships Southern African Americans faced. The only part I didn't like about this novel was when Emmett's murderers got away. I would without a doubt give this book a 4 out of 5.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like this book because it's so intresting, once you start to read this book you wont be able to put it down, your mind just gets wrapped around the vivid details. It's hard for me to get into a book but right from the begin the story caught my attention. The worst part of the story is that the whole thing really happened, you won't believe what some people would do to send a 'message'. I would definitley recommend this book to another reader, because now you know what some people had to go through back then.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like this book because it has a lot of pictures and details. It has very accurate and detalied information about the Emmett Till murder case. The worst part about the book is when the information about the murder repeats itself. It annoys me because it tells me about 3 times
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chris Crowe pours his heart out in this awesome, action-packed novel about the Emmett Till Case with full detail and description. I enjoyed this book because Crowe made the book catchy and not boring. I would recommend this book to young adults because it is very enjoyable and interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Getting Away with Murder,' was a non-fictional book that gave insight on racial issues in the 1950's. You learn about the actual crime and what went down in the court. I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys reading books that give you knowledge on important events.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Getting Away With Murder' is a documentary about a young African-American boy who changed a nation. Emmett Till, a boy still in his teens, gave a little 'wolf whistle' in the small town of Money, Mississippi, which started one of the biggest changes in American history. The book tells about how Emmett was kidnapped, and soon after, was brutally murdered for molesting, or flirting, with a white women. His murderers, Bryant and Milan, were the obvious convicts, but would the jury put them in jail or let them go? A great overall book that can teach anyone a little bit about America's history with segregation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really wasnt interested in this book but there were some interesting parts in it i guess im just not into these imformational books they just dont interest me that much like this one. I got really mad when Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam confessed about how they killed him and that when they confessed they got three-thousand five-hundred dollars for their confession. I hope that after that article was published they both got killed or hurt really badly. I think that i would only people i would recommend this to would be people interested with what probably started the civil rights movement of the 60's.Now that is my review on Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great novel. It really gets in deep to things that were happening during that time. The concept is really great. It gives us a realization on what could happen in the South for the black race if you didnt obey the orders of the white race(which is a very horrible thing). This book ('Getting Away With Murder') really has some high points. The climax of this book is really great. When Bryant and Milam were convicted not guilty I was really suprised. I did not realize that people like this could just get off the hook like that. It really astounded me. This book is not based on historical fiction. The author really based it on the true facts on what was really going on during that time. He did not add any fake characters or any fake settings that would make the plot more interesting. This book is based on all true facts. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone. This book shows us the uniqueness of the South during the 1950's, and the braveness of the people standing for their rights. The yound man (Emmett Till) shows us that he is not afraid of any one. Even when they are trying to kill him. He is able to speak his mind when he wants to.Though it is not such a good thing. Once again, i really recommend this book to anyone. It is a fantastic read and really interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. It was an easy read, yet the book had great information. It went really in-depth and gave the reader tons of background information. Besides the story, it gave the reader a small biography on Emmett Till and his mother's life. The best part of this story, to me, was when Mose Wright, Emmett's uncle stands up and points out the two men who murdered Emmett. The men were J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant. I thought this was the best part because when the men were taking Emmett, they asked if Mr. Wright 'recognized them.' At this point Mr. Wright says 'no', then J.W. Milam says if later he decides he knows them, he wont live another year. I would recommend this story it was a really good story and it was well-written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that this was a sad but very good book. Although it was heart-breaking to read what those men did to poor Emmett, it was intresting to read what it was really like back then. The only thing that was kind-of boring to read was when they started talking about who wass in court and who was who's lawyer. But other than that, the book was great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Getting Away With Murder' is an interesting read, and provides insight into the 1950's in the United States. It is non-fictional, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in history. I felt that the high point of this novel was the description of the murder trial of Milam and Bryant.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Getting away with murder hits you....it gives you an example of how things were back then, that peoploe were actually cruel to one another. This book doesnt hold back on the gruesome actions it shows you the truth. i recommend this book because its a hardcore book. At first i didn't belive that people can be like that, but after reading chapter after chapter , it finally sunk in , its horrifying fo what they did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
GETTING OFF WITH MURDER Getting Away with Murder is a very eventful book. It is filled with descriptive details explaining how a young black youth is brutally murdered and found by a fisherman, floating in the Tallahatchie River. His murderers, two racist white men named J.W Milam and his half brother Roy Bryant are put on trial immediately for the kidnapping and ¿ murder¿ of young Emmett Till. The worst part of this book, which also was the main event, was when Emmett Till was murdered and the two men that did it were put on trial and eventually, set free. My opinion of the book is that it was a very exciting book. It was very sad, but still very good. The book described the troubles of racism and the consequences of what happens when hatred takes over and controls your actions. I would recommend this book to people who like to learn about troubles in other areas in the world. Also for people who would like to learn about how African Americans were treated differently and unfairly. I would give this book 4 stars for its extensive detail.