Emmett Till: The Murder that Shocked the World

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Emmett Till murder and trial. In his new book, Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement, author Devery Anderson offers the first truly comprehensive account of the 1955 murder and its aftermath.
13 year old Emmett Till

In 1955 Till was a fourteen-year-old African American boy from Chicago who was brutally lynched for a harmless flirtation at a country store in the Mississippi Delta. His death and the acquittal of his killers by an all-white jury set off a firestorm of protests that reverberated all over the world and spurred on the Civil Rights Movement.

Like no other event in modern history, the death of Emmett Till provoked people all over the United States to seek social change. Indeed, Till is often referred to as “the sacrificial lamb of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Patrick Weems, Director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center and Sumner Courthouse, says Anderson “delivers a carefully detailed version of the Till story, but in a compelling narrative that feels less like a historical text and more like a movie plot. Throughout the book, Anderson debunks myths that have sprouted around the case. As a complete outsider to the South, he is able to see the Till case with more of an objective lens.”

Bryant Grocery in Money, MS. 

For six decades the Till story has continued to haunt the South as the lingering injustice of Till’s murder and the aftermath altered many lives. As Julian Bond writes in his foreword to this book “The Till death picture was proof of white southerner’s malevolence. Their refusal to acknowledge the killer’s guilt was proof of their acceptance of evil.”

Sign on Hwy 49 in Greenwood, MS
With over a decade of industrious and thorough research into the case, Anderson has been passionate in his quest to know the truth. He has accessed and analyzed a wealth of new evidence, making a dozen trips to Mississippi and Chicago to conduct research and interview witnesses and reporters who covered the trial.

In Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement, Anderson corrects the historical record and presents this critical saga in its entirety. This book will stand as the definitive work on Emmett Till for years to come.

Read more about Devery Anderson's work at www.emmetttillmurder.com. Below is a brief video of Anderson on WREG-Memphis speaking about his book.