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.