Emmett Till: True Stories of An American Tragedy
Where: New York Public Library—Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
476 Fifth Ave.
917-275-6975 Price: Free
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In August 1955, a fourteen-year-old black boy visiting Mississippi from Chicago named Emmett Till was abducted from his family’s home in the middle of the night by white men who believed that Till had harassed one of their wives; he was beaten, murdered, and dumped in a river with a cotton-gin fan tied to his neck by barbed wire. The atrocity, which persisted during the trial of his killers and their acquittal by an all-white jury, rattled a nation and helped fuel the modern civil rights movement. Two groundbreaking accounts of the lynching that changed a generation re-examine the life, death, and legacy of Emmett Till. Historian Timothy Tyson and PEN Award–winning author John Edgar Wideman will speak about their new books, The Blood of Emmett Till and Writing to Save a Life, with historian Nell Irvin Painter, author of the New York Times bestseller The History of White People.
Timothy Tyson’s The Blood of Emmett Till records one of the most comprehensive accounts of Emmett Till’s story, using for the first time trial transcripts that had gone missing for a half century and a revelatory interview with Carolyn Bryant, the woman Till had supposedly harassed, near the end of her life. John Edgar Wideman’s Writing to Save a Life plumbs the story through Louis Till, Emmett’s father, who was hung for rape and murder by the U.S. Army in Italy a decade before his son’s death.Buy tickets/get more info now