The Blood of Emmett Till

The Blood of Emmett Till

Book - 2017
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* Longlisted for the National Book Award * A New York Times Notable Book * A Washington Post Notable Book * An NPR Best Book of 2017 * A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2017 * An Atlanta Journal-Constitution Best Southern Book of 2017 *

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 ).

In 1955, white men in the Mississippi Delta lynched a fourteen-year-old from Chicago named Emmett Till. His murder was part of a wave of white terrorism in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared public school segregation unconstitutional. Only weeks later, Rosa Parks thought about young Emmett as she refused to move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, Black students who called themselves "the Emmett Till generation" launched sit-in campaigns that turned the struggle for civil rights into a mass movement. Till's lynching became the most notorious hate crime in American history.

But what actually happened to Emmett Till--not the icon of injustice, but the flesh-and-blood boy? Part detective story, part political history, The Blood of Emmett Till "unfolds like a movie" ( The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ), drawing on a wealth of new evidence, including a shocking admission of Till's innocence from the woman in whose name he was killed. "Jolting and powerful" ( The Washington Post ), the book "provides fresh insight into the way race has informed and deformed our democratic institutions" (Diane McWhorter, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Carry Me Home ) and "calls us to the cause of justice today" (Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP).
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2017
ISBN: 9781476714844
Branch Call Number: 364.134 Tyso
Characteristics: x, 291 pages ; 24 cm


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Jun 17, 2019

After reading the reviews I've taken this off my list. I've known about Emmett Till for years and simply cannot bear to read or hear in detail again the horrific hate inflicted on this young man. It's bad enough that we're still living with this in 2019. Such wanton, hateful destruction.

Feb 03, 2019

Tyson, a Southerner himself, the son of a NC white preacher, had written a book about a killing of a black youth in his own home town 15 years after the killing of Emmett Till. That killing, like most, had gone unnoticed by the rest of the world. Carolyn Bryant, the "victim" of Till's "assault" in a rural grocery store, read his book, and she contacted him. She'd never given an interview, or spoken of Till after the trial. The details of what she said to Tyson are still unknown, because among the conditions of the interview were that they wouldn't be revealed until 2038, when, presumably, she would be dead. He did quote, with her permission, "He didn't deserve what they did to him."

What her husband and brother-in-law did to Emmett Till was horrendous, and Tyson discusses that in gruesome detail, much of that from the trial transcript, which disappeared for decades. Till, 14, was from a poor, all black neighborhood in Chicago. When he went to visit relatives in Mississippi, his mother tried to explain the relationship between the races there, and how he must behave while staying with his black preacher great uncle's family. Never having much interaction with whites, Till didn't quite get the message. Still, that didn't justify what happened to him. It was not what we think of as a lynching, where a black person is hung from a tree branch. Till was kidnapped from the preacher's home at night, tortured, shot, and his body dumped in the river loaded with a weight so it would never be found. Several days, the bloated body was found by teenage black kids who were fishing. In spite of its condition, he was recognizable. Blacks and whites knew who had killed him, and the trial was held too quickly for investigation to be done by the authorities. NAACP worked ceaselessly, along with the FBI, to find the evidence. The jury was all white, all male, with orders to drag out the deliberations, but to bring in an acquittal. They did. The town, and all of Mississippi, rejoiced with pride. But Mamie, Emmett's mother, had had his body shipped north, and his open-casket funeral in Chicago brought thousands. Rallies from NYC to LA to Miami to Milwaukie brought in money. The shame the incident brought on the US sped across the globe, and was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. I'd heard of the story, but this book enlightened me, especially today, when we don't seem to have made much progress.

Nov 05, 2018

The Blood of Emmett Till was a amazing book and I really enjoyed reading about it. It was interesting to have the author write about his interview with the “victaim” Carolyn Bryant to get the real story. There was details that were left out like how did they kill him or explaining more of how he was just taken from his house and no one tried to stop him at all. But overall it was good to read about the trail and how it was a majority white men on the jury. Also how his mother let there be a open casket for people and the world to see what they had done to her child. I would recommend this book into anyone that like reading about history or case of black men.

May 01, 2017

"Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him."-Carolyn Bryant Donham
The story of Emmett Till is well-known: Till, an African-American teenager from Chicago, was visiting relatives in Mississippi and talked to a white woman in a store named Carolyn Bryant. She claimed he said vulgar things to her and, simply on her testimony, he was kidnapped and brutally murdered. His killers went free. Timothy Tyson's new book opens with an interview with Bryant, now repentant and saying that nothing happened, certainly nothing to justify Till's murder. Aside from telling the story in detail, Tyson excels at capturing the racial climate of the time and setting the murder in its social and historical context. A story that should never be forgotten.

ArapahoeLesley Mar 29, 2017

This is an enlightening book especially for people like me who knew almost nothing about about Emmett Till. I'm shocked that I knew so little about this subject... why was I not taught this in school? Tyson's well researched and well written book is one of many that have come out recently that all people should read.


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