SOURCE: National Civil Rights Museum

National Civil Rights Museum

August 18, 2015 17:03 ET

60 Years After Emmett Till: His Murder Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement

A New Book Is the Focus of an Old Case Still Relevant Today

MEMPHIS, TN--(Marketwired - August 18, 2015) - This year marks the 60th Anniversary of the grueling murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year old from Chicago who visited Mississippi in 1955. The National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM) brings author Devery S. Anderson who will present exclusive findings in the Emmett Till case documented in his book, Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement, on Wednesday, August 26 at 6pm. After 20 years of disciplined research, Anderson's book release last week coincides with the anniversary of Till's murder and the parallels in recent cases of unprosecuted murders of African American males in the U.S.

"I always visit the National Civil Rights Museum when I am in Memphis. Its many exhibits, photos, and artifacts tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement in a way that moves us and makes history come alive," said Anderson. "That the Emmett Till story has been included in the exhibits showcasing the struggle for equal rights is crucial. My intent in writing my book was to make sure that his legacy continues and that future generations will never forget."

The Emmett Till case is one of the most heinous crimes during the Civil Rights Era. Accused of wolf-whistling at a white woman in the Mississippi Delta in August 1955, Till was subsequently kidnapped, tortured and thrown into the Tallahatchie River. At his mother's request, open-casket funeral photographs of his mutilated corpse circulated internationally displaying the appalling face of racism in America. His death and the acquittal of his killers proved Till to be the sacrificial lamb of the modern Civil Rights Movement. The book goes deep into the trial to dispel myths and shed new light on the perpetrators and the investigation itself.

National Civil Rights Museum Historian Ryan M. Jones, who has reviewed the book and considers it the definitive work on the Till case, will moderate a discussion on the significance of the Emmett Till's murder to the Civil Rights Movement. The dialogue will include issues in racial profiling, the killing of young African Americans like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and how Emmett Till's case is relevant in a new movement toward equality and justice.

"The lynching of Emmett Till sparked protests and demonstrations for equal rights in public accommodations and the right to vote for that generation. Today, the murders of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown revisit the ghost of Emmett Till," said Jones. "While times are different, the fact that unarmed black youth are killed and their killers are not prosecuted reminds us all too well how a lynching can galvanized a new Civil Rights Movement. Sixty years later, the injustice continues -- and so does the protest, and the dialogue toward solutions," he said.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information visit The event hashtag is #EmmettTill60.


The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, is the only Museum of its kind in the country that gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from 1619 to the present. The Museum is intended to bring the movement to life, place the events in a historical perspective and provide a focus of national remembrance. Since the Museum opened in 1991, close to 5 million visitors from around the world have come, including more than 60,000 students annually. Recognized as a center for civil rights and social change, the Museum is steadfast in its mission to share the culture and lessons from the Movement and explore how this significant era continues to shape equality and freedom globally.

Through interactive exhibits, historic collections, storytelling, dynamic speakers and events, the Museum offers visitors a chance to walk through history and learn more about a tumultuous and inspiring period of change. Finally, the NCRM invites you to Join the Movement, take a stand and share your voice on issues that impact our society.

An internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum was recognized as USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal.

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