WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)–Many who know a great deal about Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks might not be as familiar with the name Emmett Till. But the Chicago teenager’s murder was one of the pivotal events in the civil rights struggle.
A special documentary about Till’s killing co-sponsored by the West Haven Council on the Arts and the black student union at the University of New Haven will be shown on campus this Thursday night.
It was 1955 when Till traveled from Chicago to Money, Mississippi to spend the summer with relatives. While there, he allegedly whistled at a white woman and was later killed.
“During the middle of the night, Emmett Till was pulled out of his cousin’s house by a couple of white men, brutally beaten and murdered… to the point the only way they could identify him was because of a ring on his finger,” said Darryl Cummings of the West Haven Arts Council.
Till’s mother insisted on a public funeral, and pictures of the teenager’s disfigured body were published in Jet Magazine, sparking national outrage.
In a phone interview, filmmaker Keith Beauchamp told News 8 that the Till murder was the ‘catalyst’ of the civil rights movement. His documentary features rare interviews with members of Emmett Till’s family.
“The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till” will be shown February 26th at the Bucknell Theater with a discussion with the filmmaker after it is shown.