Pub. Date:
University Press of Mississippi
Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement

Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement

by Devery S. Anderson, Julian Bond
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Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement offers the first, and as of 2018, only comprehensive account of the 1955 murder, the trial, and the 2004-2007 FBI investigation into the case and Mississippi grand jury decision. By all accounts, it is the definitive account of the case. It tells the story of Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old African American boy from Chicago brutally lynched for a harmless flirtation at a country store in the Mississippi Delta. Anderson utilizes documents that had never been available to previous researchers, such as the trial transcript, long-hidden depositions by key players in the case, and interviews given by Carolyn Bryant to the FBI in 2004 (her first in fifty years), as well as other recently revealed FBI documents. Anderson also interviewed family members of the accused killers, most of whom agreed to talk for the first time, as well as several journalists who covered the murder trial in 1955.

Till's death and the acquittal of his killers by an all-white jury set off a firestorm of protests that reverberated all over the world and spurred on the civil rights movement. Like no other event in modern history, the death of Emmett Till provoked people all over the United States to seek social change. Anderson's exhaustively researched book is also the basis for a Hollywood mini-series produced by Jay-Z, Will Smith, Casey Affleck, Aaron Kaplan, James Lassiter, Jay Brown, Ty Ty Smith, John P. Middleton, Rosanna Grace, David B. Clark, and Alex Foster.

For over six decades the Till story has continued to haunt the South as the lingering injustice of Till's murder and the aftermath altered many lives. Fifty years after the murder, renewed interest in the case led the Justice Department to open an investigation into identifying and possibly prosecuting accomplices of the two men originally tried. Between 2004 and 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the first real probe into the killing and turned up important information that had been lost for decades. Anderson covers the events that led up to this probe in great detail, as well as the investigation itself.

This book will stand as the definitive work on Emmett Till for years to come. Incorporating much new information, the book demonstrates how the Emmett Till murder exemplifies the Jim Crow South at its nadir. The author accessed a wealth of new evidence. Anderson made a dozen trips to Mississippi and Chicago over a ten-year period to conduct research and interview witnesses and reporters who covered the trial. In Emmett Till, Anderson corrects the historical record and presents this critical saga in its entirety.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496802842
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Publication date: 08/18/2015
Series: Race, Rhetoric, and Media Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 560
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Devery S. Anderson, Salt Lake City, Utah, is a graduate of the University of Utah and is an editor at Signature Books in Salt Lake City. He has authored or coauthored several books on Mormon history, two of which won the Steven F. Christensen Award for Best Documentary from the Mormon History Association.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Foreword Julian Bond xiii

Preface to the Paperback Edition xv

Preface xxi

Prologue: Through a Glass, Darkly xxvii

Part 1 In Black and White

1 Mother and Son 5

2 Mississippi Welcomes Emmett Till 22

3 Murder Heard Round the World 39

4 Countdown 64

5 Tallahatchie Trial, Part 1 85

6 Tallahatchie Trial, Part 2 123

7 Protests, Rumors, and Revelations 166

8 Clamor, Conflict, and Another Jury 198

9 The Look Story and Its Aftermath 220

10 Never the Same 252

Part 2 In Living Color

11 Revival 287

12 Seeking Justice in a New Era 315

13 The Legacy of Emmett Till 344

Epilogue: Seeing Clearly 357

Appendix: Piecing the Puzzle 361

Notes 381

Bibliography 485

Index 529

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Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best part of this telling of one of the most heinous crimes in our nation's history is the degree to which the author demonstrates just how difficult it is to piece together the actual events of a criminal incident, be it in the past or recent. Through what seems to be thorough research, the author demonstrates while we know for sure some the horrifying events of the notorious and evil killing of 14 year old Emmett Till, we will never know for sure a lot of what actually happened. And yet, as the author points out, we know enough to know the horrible injustices perpetrated in the name of local pride. Additionally, Anderson demonstrates how, even allies in the cause of justice can be conflicted and sometimes work against each other when the focus should be on the righting the horrible wrongs done in this or any case. Especially fascinating is the last third of the work where Anderson forcefully brings out the reviving of the case fifty years after it happened and the lies revealed, hoping that at the very least the new revelations could let the world know the truth of what took place. Excellently researched, but sometimes overwhelming in the first two thirds, the book is well worth a read by anybody who is interested in the complexities of making a murder case in a place where murderers are valued over the victims and fight for racial justice in a country that gives only lip service to equality. Well worth the time!