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The Blood of Emmett Till
Cover of The Blood of Emmett Till
The Blood of Emmett Till
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Mississippi, 1955: fourteen-year-old Emmett Till was murdered by a white mob after making flirtatious remarks to a white woman, Carolyn Bryant. Till's attackers were never convicted, but his lynching...
Mississippi, 1955: fourteen-year-old Emmett Till was murdered by a white mob after making flirtatious remarks to a white woman, Carolyn Bryant. Till's attackers were never convicted, but his lynching...
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  • Mississippi, 1955: fourteen-year-old Emmett Till was murdered by a white mob after making flirtatious remarks to a white woman, Carolyn Bryant. Till's attackers were never convicted, but his lynching became one of the most notorious hate crimes in American history. It launched protests across the country, helped the NAACP gain thousands of members, and inspired famous activists like Rosa Parks to stand up and fight for equal rights for the first time. Part detective story, part political history, Tyson revises the history of the Till case, using a wide range of new sources, including the only interview ever given by Carolyn Bryant. In a time where discussions of race are once again coming to the fore, Tyson redefines this crucial moment in civil rights history.

About the Author-

  • Timothy B. Tyson is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Visiting Professor of American Christianity & Southern Culture at Duke Divinity School, and adjunct professor of American Studies at the University of North Carolina. His novel Blood Done Sign My Name was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Grawemeyer Award in Religion. He serves on the North Carolina NAACP executive board.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 24, 2016
    With rare immediacy, Tyson (Blood Done Sign My Name) revisits the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi and the acquittal of those responsible in a gripping account of the cultural milieu of a racist environment. The work is informed by the retrospective of Carolyn Bryant (the woman whose short interaction with Till set the ensuing developments in motion), supported by the recollections of many who witnessed, participated in, testified to, and reported about the crime at the time, and strengthened by Tyson’s diligent research through contemporaneous accounts and archival materials as well as recent scholarship. Two families—the victim’s and the killers’—and their extended kinships occupy the center of the narrative, as Tyson describes the enmeshment of their lives with the legal apparatus that included several sheriffs, the prosecution and defense teams, the judge, and the jury (“all men, all white”). He also removes a multitude of other involved people from obscurity and gives them dimension. Tyson’s remarkable achievement is that each thread is explored in detail, backstories as well as main events, while he maintains a page-turning readability for what might seem a familiar tale. Cinematically engaging, harrowing, and poignant, Tyson’s monumental work illuminates Emmett Till’s murder and serves as a powerful reminder that certain stories in history merit frequent retelling.

  • AudioFile Magazine Rhett Price narrates this new account of the people and events surrounding the Mississippi lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955. There are two storylines--one of the events of 1955 and the other Tyson's interview with Carolyn Bryant, the white woman in whose name Till was lynched. Bryant finally told her story in 2008, revealing the truth and the lies surrounding this tragic event during the wave of violence in the South following the 1954 Supreme Court decisions against segregation. Price's narration is evenly paced and uses a variety of accents and soft intonations. Graphic descriptions are interspersed with dialogue and historical digressions. Price's unemotional reading does nothing to lessen the shock and horror of this sad chapter in American history. M.B.K. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

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