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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Spotlight On: Black History Month (Emmett Till)

Continuing our spotlight on Black History Month, today's post is about the murder of Emmett Till. This landmark case is not often found in textbooks, but more and more books are being published. Two of the best are:

Title: Simeon's Story: an eyewitness account of the kidnapping of Emmett Till

Author: Wright
Genre: Non-fiction, Biography, Crimes
Pages: 176
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!


I have read many books about the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black boy from Chicago whose body was battered beyond recognition and dumped in the Tallahatchie River while visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, in 1955. Till's crime? He supposedly whistled at a white woman. This crime was often overlooked by the history books because Till was African American. Though his murderers were never brought to justice, the crime has received much attention in recent years.

This account of the tragedy is told by the boy's cousin, Simeon Wright, who was with Emmett on the fateful day and was sleeping in the same room when white men came to take him away in the middle of the night. Simeon's story is a page-turner and should be included in American History curriculums.

Though it looks like a picture book, A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson is definitely intended for older readers.  This book is a collection of 15 sonnets that tell the story surrounding the murder of Emmett. The "wreath" is the collection of poems, the last line of one of the sonnets becomes the first line of the next, and the final sonnet contains one line from each of the preceding 14 poems. Very moving, and a perfect companion book to Simeon's Story.

1 comment:

campbele said...

An excellent read for students, particularly if they continue to research the story. One thing they will find is that the whistle is part of the legend of Emmett Till. He didn't whistle.
http://www.emmetttillmurder.com/California%20Eagle%201956_install%201.htm

 

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