Mother of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 defied the fear imposed by generations of state-sanctioned violence against African Americans
Abayomi Azikiwe, November 3, 2022
Director: Chinonye Chukwu
Producers: Keith Beauchamp, Barbara Broccoli, Whoopi Goldberg, Thomas Levine, Michael Reilly, Frederick Zollo
Writers: Chinonye Chukwu, Michael Reilly, Keith Beauchamp
Star Actors: Danielle Deadwyler (Mamie Till-Bradley), Jalyn Hall (Emmett Till), Whoopi Goldberg (Alma Carthan, grandmother of Emmett Till), John Douglas Thompson (Moses Wright, great uncle of Emmett Till)
This feature film was the second representation during 2022 of the August 1955 lynching of young Emmett Till.
Earlier in the year, a made for television movie entitled “Women in the Movement” covered similar subject matter in relations to the brutal murder of this African American youth which deeply shocked and enraged the entire community nationwide.
Chinonye Chukwu, a young filmmaker who was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria in West Africa, sets out to retell the Emmett Till story along with the circumstances which led to the launching of the mass Civil Rights Movement. Keith Beauchamp, one of the producers and co-writers, had already directed a documentary on the Emmett Till case released in 2005.
The focus of the movie rightfully chronicles the journey of Mamie Till-Mobley who lived and worked in Chicago when she responded to an invitation from her uncle, Moses Wright, a cotton farmer in the Mississippi Delta, to allow her only son to visit during harvesting season. Emmett’s father had been killed in the Second World War while serving in the racially segregated United States military in Europe….
Members of the family of Emmett Till are demanding that the State of Mississippi reopen an investigation in light of the fact that Carolyn Bryant is still alive. The state and federal governments had launched an inquiry in the early 2000s and subsequently closed the investigations saying there was no new evidence.
The Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Bill was finally adopted by Congress in March 2022 making such extrajudicial killings a federal crime. This was the only anti-lynching bill passed by Congress since the first attempts were made during the late 19th century.
A monument to Till in Money, Mississippi where the initial incident at the grocery store took place, has been vandalized on many occasions. Another monument was recently inaugurated in Greenwood, some 40 miles from where the actual lynching occurred. It is a 9-foot bronze statue in the likeness of Till that is located at Rail Pike Park downtown.
However, the irony of the anti-lynching bill and the monuments is that the racist violence in which Till was the victim continues in 21st century. It will take a revolutionary movement to overthrow institutional racism and national oppression in order to win justice and end lynching in the U.S.