Monday, April 7, 2008

Till(ing) History

Since Emmett Till is such an important figure in the Civil Rights Movement, I think that it is important we continue the discussion from last week.

Meet Devery Anderson--author, writer, historian, and educator who currently lives in Utah. He has a website devoted to Till's life and significance, and is working on a book about the subject.

From his website, he recounts what spurred his interest in the life of Till: "I first became acquainted with Emmett Till in the fall of 1994, as a student at the University of Utah, after watching the first segment of the PBS documentary series on the Civil Rights Movement, Eyes on the Prize. Emmett’s murder and the subsequent acquittal of his killers left me sad, angry, and full of questions. What happened to the killers after their acquittal? What happened to Emmett’s mother? Was she alive, or had she died somewhere in obscurity? Why was I not already familiar with this case?"

Well, Devery is intimately familiar with the case, and has graciously agreed to respond to questions, comments, and thoughts about the Till case. So take what we've discussed in class, and ask any questions about the Till case, Emmett's late mother, or other relevant historical questions. Peruse Devery's excellent website; there's tons of wonderful material worthy of discussion.

Post your questions and thoughts in the comments section.

In the meantime, here's a poem Devery wrote about Till:

Destined for obscurity
Until you took a south-bound train.
But soon we saw your battered face,
And we felt your mother’s pain.

Because bad men, with their hearts of stone,
Who delight in dirty deeds,
Unknowingly fulfilled the word
That it’s a little child that leads.

And “black” meant “brave” those summer days,
Enduring threats and fear.
But the Tallahatchie’s deeper now
Because it holds our tears.

Tried, acquitted, they walked the streets
They bragged, then lived in shame.
Living life disowned, alone,
In prisons without names.

Making sense of senseless acts
Decades later, now we see.
Despite the walls now broken down,
We’re just beginning to be free

An only child, a mother’s son,
You moved a sleeping land.
And as one of heaven’s angels,
You’ve moved us once again.


Anonymous said...

My question would be if Mr. and Mrs. Bryant and Mr. Milan had ever had any regret or guilty consciences on their past actions? Have their morals evolved?

Period 1

Anonymous said...

I would ask if carolyn Bryant has ever expressed remorse and if she new her husbands intentions that night?

period 4

Anonymous said...

I would ask if Mamie Till-Mobley was ever angry at his cousins and grandfather who he was staying with in Mississippi?

period 1

Anonymous said...

My question would be whether Bryant and Milan, Emmett's killers ever felt sorry for killing Emmett

David Lim
Period 4

Anonymous said...

Why won't miss Bryant be interviewed? Did she bend the truth to a point where it intensified her husband's anger?

Marc Rocha

Anonymous said...

I would ask Carolyn Bryant if she is regretful for causing such a possibly unintentional action by E. Till to result in such a terrible crime?

Jennifer Gurney
Period 7

Anonymous said... question to Mrs. Bryant would be why not express the events and truth of that fatal day, wouldn't it make you feel better?

--Hayden Smith

Anonymous said...

I would ask him if Mrs. Bryant would regret telling her husband about Emmitt if she had seen his body at the funeral?

-mary kelley

Anonymous said...

My question would be if Mrs. Bryant exaggerated on the circumstances between Emmett and her.

period 1

Anonymous said...

I would like to know if the men who tortured and killed emmit till had done any previous acts similar to this one and they just did not get caught...
claire burgh

Anonymous said...

I would ask if Emmett's mother ever regrets sending her son to Mississippi?

Kendall Burgess

Anonymous said...

I would ask if carolyn bryant ever gets any threat phone calls or letters for what she did.

Anonymous said...

My question is for Mr.Anderson
What is the most unique or crucial findings that you have discovered while researching Till?

-Davison 7th

Anonymous said...

My question would be that did Mrs. Bryant ever feel that at any time any justice had been done?

Kevin Smith

Anonymous said...

I would ask what Mrs. Bryants reaction was to the body of Emmett Till. Also i would want to ask if Mrs. Bryant had any little kids of her own, how she went into telling them the story of what happend to Emmett Till and what their reaction was to her story.

Kendall Shanklin
7th Period

Anonymous said...

i would ask if mrs bryant lied about what emmitt did? and if so, what did he do that caused so much anger inside of the Milans and Bryants
period 7

Josh W. said...

To mr. Anderson:
First of all, your poem is very beautiful, and also insightful. I noticed that you referred to Emmitt as an "angel"; do you think that there was some kind of divine purpose to his death?

Anonymous said...

i would ask him what kind of questions did he ask the family members of Emmett and if he would have asked any more questions to mamie no that she is deceased.

Serena Hudson
Period 1

Anonymous said...

I was wondering what was Emmett's life like without his father around and before his death? and during the time of Emmett's death Mammie Till seemed calm and not as devistated as i would think, is there an explanation for this?

Kayla Adel
Period 4

Nikolas said...

I personally would like to ask the mental state of these individuals that killed Emmitt Till and also the mental state of Carolyn Bryant after hearing news of Till's fate. How vastly has it impacted her life and how did she first recieve it when she heard about it so many years ago?

Anonymous said...

Do u think that Emmett whistled or said something inappropriate or do u think that it was It only his speech impediment

period 2

Anonymous said...

i would like to know what Ms. Bryants reaction was after she saw Emmett's body in the casket..

Anonymous said...

My question would be what are his thoughts on the fact that the jury took so long with the verdict, even though they already know the decision.

Doug Chipponeri - 7

Anonymous said...

I would ask how open Mamie Till-Mobley was about the murder.

Robert H.

Phil said...

The two most recent Till documentaries feature tons interview footage of Till's family from Mississippi. I wonder in the course of your research if, in addition to Emmett's mother, you had a chance to speak with other Till family from Chicago?

Also, I know Emmett's mother once compared his death to that of Jesus--in terms of its redemptive value and significance. In light of this, I wonder how much we know of Emmett's religion and/or faith?

I've only read issues of The Crisis when Du Bois was editor from 1910-1934; I wonder how much attention the Till case got in The Crisis in the 1950s and 1960s given the Association's involvement in Mississippi?

Finally, for interested readers, when might your book on Till be published?

Anonymous said...

My question would be what is the significance of Emmett's case during civil rights movement period.

Anonymous said...

above was Jinxuan Chen

Anonymous said...

Do you think Mamie Till was trying to bring attention to herself or the civil rights movement? By walking out of the courtroom, having a public open casket funeral, and doing so many interviews, it almost seems that it wasn't all for Emmett, but more like to make herself feel better about the whole situation.
Matthew Kreston
Period 2

Anonymous said...

How many murders like Emmett Till happened in that time period?

Anonymous said...

my question is were any futher actions taken to prosecute the men that commuted the horible act.

John period 7

Anonymous said...

hello I'm jorge and my question is how come emitts uncle let the bad guys take him away?

Anonymous said...

I would like to ask if Ms. Till and Ms. Bryant have ever had a face to face discussion about what happedned?

Anonymous said...

My question for Mr. Anderson is, How often do you find new information on the Emmett Till Case and is there still a lot more information for you to discover?

-Alaina Aday

period 2

Anonymous said...

What behoved Mamie Till-Mobley to use her son's death as evidence to white supremacy?

period 7

Anonymous said...

At what point would it make a human so angry as to do something so vile to another person, regardless of race or ethicity?

Connor Period 4

Anonymous said...

i would like to know if anyone ever told emmett how it would be when he visited his family?

Period 2

Anonymous said...

I would ask Emmett's killers whether they even thought about about the fact that the boy they were killing was only 14 years old.
-A. Elliott

Anonymous said...

I would ask if Carolyn Bryant is still alive?

Johnatan Herrera
Period 2

Anonymous said...

Do you think that Bryant and Milan had regrets for doing that or do they still think what they did was the right thing to do?


Anonymous said...

i would ask if CArolin Bryant still is a gainst the civil rights or if she has moved on.

Anonymous said...

Why was the judicial system able to reopen the Emmitt Till case even though they were breaking the double jeporady law?

Richard Salinas

ecarson said...

I heard that Spike Lee and others are looking at making a movie on this.

Phil said...

Eddie, I had not heard the news about Spike Lee--knowing his work it'll be profound, challenging, and controversial. I'll keep my eyes open for it.

Paige Warren! said...

I would ask Mamie Till-Mobley first, how she felt when she got the vision from God telling her that Emmett was His, and secondly, how she was then faithful in ministering that amazing strength and truth to the rest of the world!