The 65th Anniversary of the Murder of Emmett Till: 6 Key Resources for K-12 Education

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

“Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me.”

John Lewis, the civil rights leader and congressman who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death.

Continuing Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs here, here, here, here, and here on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this post focuses on the 65th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till, which is August 28, 2020.

Going back years, we’ve worked to highlight great figures in America’s Civil Rights Movement, including MLK, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Bob Moses, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Emmett Till, with the hopes of showing the general public, educators, parents, and students the constructive role that better understanding U.S. history, civil rights, and race in America can play in positively shaping the future of our civilization. From Rosa Parks to the recent death of Congressman John Lewis, for over a half century civil rights figures have pointed to the horrific August 28, 1955 murder of Emmett Till as a major turning point in the history of race relations.

In addition to discussing current K-12 education policy matters, these op-eds, event videos, and resources can provide important context for understanding the Civil Rights era and the complexity of our shared past.

Fannie Lou Hamer: ‘I Am Sick And Tired Of Being Sick And Tired‘” By Jamie Gass, Oct. 2017

A Fire You Can’t Put Out”: Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Civil Rights, & School ChoicesPioneer event video, March 2017

Teach students history of horrific slave trade By Jamie Gass, Feb. 2017

The Time To Act”: Pioneer video featuring Civil Rights history & Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of lead plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Ed

Emmett Till Teaches Us, 60 Years Later By Jamie Gass, Aug. 2015

Pulitzer Prize Winners, Voter Registration Legend Featured at Event on Teaching the Civil Rights Movement Pioneer event, January 2014

 

Other resources for parents and their schoolchildren to explore about the murder of Emmett Till, include:

  1. A Wreath for Emmett Till, by Marilyn Nelson (ages 12 and up)


“In 1955 people all over the United States knew that Emmett Louis Till was a fourteen-year-old African American boy lynched for supposedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. The brutality of his murder, the open-casket funeral held by his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, and the acquittal of the men tried for the crime drew wide media attention. In a profound and chilling poem, award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson reminds us of the boy whose fate helped spark the civil rights movement.”

 

2. Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case, by Chris Crowe (ages 12 and up)


“In clear, vivid detail Chris Crowe investigates the before-and-aftermath of Till’s murder, as well as the dramatic trial and speedy acquittal of his white murderers, situating both in the context of the nascent Civil Rights Movement. Newly reissued with a new chapter of additional material–including recently uncovered details about Till’s accuser’s testimony–this book grants eye-opening insight to the legacy of Emmett Till.”

 

 

3. A Dream Of Freedom (Booklist Editor’s Choice. Books for Youth Awards), by Diane McWhorter (ages 8-12)

“In this history of the modern Civil Rights movement, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Diane McWhorter focuses on the monumental events that occurred between 1954 (the year of Brown v. the Board of Education) and 1968 (the year that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated). Beginning with an overview of the movement since the end of the Civil War, McWhorter also discusses such events as the 1956 MTGS bus boycott, the 1961 Freedom Rides, and the 1963 demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama, among others.”

 

4. Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America, by Mamie Till-Mobley & Christopher Benson (ages high school to adults)

“The mother of Emmett Till recounts the story of her life, her son’s tragic death, and the dawn of the civil rights movement—with a foreword by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. In August 1955, a fourteen-year-old African American, Emmett Till, was visiting family in Mississippi when he was kidnapped from his bed in the middle of the night by two white men and brutally murdered. His crime: allegedly whistling at a white woman in a convenience store. The killers were eventually acquitted.”

 

 

5. Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement, by Devery S. Anderson with a foreword by Julian Bond (ages high school to adults)


“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.”

 

 

 

6. The Blood of Emmett Till, by Timothy B. Tyson (ages high school to adult)

“This extraordinary New York Times bestseller reexamines a pivotal event of the civil rights movement—the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till—“and demands that we do the one vital thing we aren’t often enough asked to do with history: learn from it” (The Atlantic).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Updates on Our Education Research

Related Posts

METCO’s Milly Arbaje-Thomas & Researcher Roger Hatch on MA’s Voluntary School Desegregation Program

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Milly Arbaje-Thomas, President & CEO of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc. (METCO) and Roger Hatch, co-author of Pioneer’s report, METCO Funding: Understanding Massachusetts’ Voluntary School Desegregation Program.

Lead Plaintiff David Carson & IJ Attorney Arif Panju on Landmark SCOTUS Decision Carson v. Makin

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Arif Panju, a managing attorney with the Institute for Justice and co-counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court school choice case, Carson v. Makin; and David Carson, the lead plaintiff. Panju shares the key legal contours of Carson v. Makin and the potential impact of the Court’s decision in favor of the plaintiffs.

Smith College Prof. Paula Giddings on Ida B. Wells and Her Anti-Lynching Crusade

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara Candal and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with Prof. Paula Giddings, Elizabeth A. Woodson Professor Emerita of Africana Studies at Smith College, and author of A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching.

AFC’s Denisha Merriweather on School Choice Advocacy & Black Minds Matter

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Denisha Merriweather, the director of public relations and content marketing at the American Federation for Children and founder of Black Minds Matter. They discuss Denisha’s inspiring personal narrative, from a struggling student to a leading national spokesperson for school choice.

UVA Law Prof. G. Edward White on Law, Race, & the U.S. Supreme Court in American History

This week on “The Learning Curve," as the nation prepares for the likely confirmation of its first Black female U.S. Supreme Court justice, Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. G. Edward White, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, and author of the three-volume book, Law in American History.

EdChoice’s VP Leslie Hiner on Landmark SCOTUS Decisions for School Choice

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Leslie Hiner, Vice President of Legal Affairs and Director of Legal Defense & Education Center with EdChoice. They discuss the the landmark U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in Brown v. Board of Education, among the most important in the nation’s history, and how Brown’s call for racial access and equity in K-12 education has helped inform the work and advocacy of the school choice movement.

ESPN Senior Writer Howard Bryant on Race in Boston & American Sports

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-host Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Howard Bryant, a senior writer for ESPN and the author of nine books, including Full Dissidence: Notes From an Uneven Playing Field and The Heritage: Black Athletes, A Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism.

Parent Advocate Virginia Walden Ford on Civil Rights, School Choice, & the D.C. Voucher Program

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-host Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with Virginia Walden Ford, education advocate and author of Voices, Choices, and Second Chances, and School Choice: A Legacy to Keep. She shares her experiences growing up and desegregating high schools in Little Rock, Arkansas in the mid-1960s, and the lessons she carried forward in her school choice advocacy in Washington, D.C.