Thursday, February 08, 2007

Remembering Emmett Till

In addition to an assignments on Martin Luther King, Jr. and Carter G. Woodson, and several other activities, during Black History Month (and at other times during the academic year) I spend some time talking about Emmett Till. Since I teach high school students, I find that Till's story hits my students in deep and profound ways since they are around the age Till was when he was brutally murdered in August 1955.

The screening of Keith Beauchamp's stunning documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Till coincided with my unit on Till last year, and a number of my students went to the screening and later wrote critical essays on the film for extra credit. (Read about another important documentary here.)

I'll be showing Beauchamp's documentary in my classes this year, and will use Christopher Metress's The Lynching of Emmett Till: A Documentary History to follow the story along through primary documents.

Here's a poem about Till, a great web resource and labor of love devoted to Till, and here Cornel West weighs in.

Till's blood still cries out for justice, and I hope my students will learn to listen. More later.


Anonymous said...

Phil -

I'll have to check out the documentary, thanks for mentioning it. Hopefully we'll all learn to listen more attentively to the cries for justice worldwide... thanks for bringing this (and other things, like Darfur) to our attention.

Also, huge congrats to you and Jenni, I just read the previous comments about baby #4!


Phil said...

Thanks for the kind words Jasie, and for listening! Feel free to borrow the documentary when you get back to town.

Also, I'd love to read the book we talked about over the holiday break.

Anonymous said...

I took a Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement course at Texas A&M back in the mid-90's. Each of us was required to conduct a research project based on primary research. One of my classmates wrote about Emmett, and with much less work than he expected he was able to speak with Mrs. Till (Emmett's mother) at length. She was very gracious. It was fascinating to just be in proximity to that.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing your experiences in the classroom with the Beauchamp documentary and Till. I am currently appealing to the TEA to make the Till case a permanent and required study in the Texas, and eventually national, curriculum. I would love to use your experience and quotes to support the plea. I have interviewed Beauchamp and keep him posted on my Till in the Classroom work. I'll let him know about this site and your comments.

Tammie Nolte
(working on a collective, informative Till site)