Today in history… August 28, 1955, Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago, is abducted from his uncle’s home in Money, Mississippi. Two white men – Roy Bryant Jr. and J. W. Milam – seize Till after he supposedly whistled at a white woman, and days later, he’s found brutally murdered, his body mutilated. An all-white jury would eventually acquit the two men of the crime. Although they would later confess in a paid interview with journalist William Bradford Huie, for Look magazine.
Maybe fittingly, exactly 8 years later, August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. (who called Till’s murder “one of the most brutal and inhuman crimes of the twentieth century“), led The March on Washington – one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history, calling for civil and economic rights for African Americans. It took place in Washington, D.C., where, standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, King delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, advocating racial harmony.
Three months and three days after Emmett Till’s body was pulled from the Tallahatchie, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began.
So as you celebrate the 1963 March today, also remember Emmett Till who died 8 years earlier.
On film, directors Aravind Ragupathi and Rob Underhill, joined playwright/actor Mike Wiley, to produce a film reenacting the conversation between journalist William Bradford Huie and the white two men acquitted for the boy’s murder.
Wiley, who’s black by the way, convincingly plays all 3 characters (in fact he plays every character in the film) in an acting tour de force.
The film, titled, DAR HE: The Lynching of Emmett Till, continues to travel the film festival circuit. Here are upcoming dates courtesy of its Facebook page:
– Cincinnati Film Festival, Cincinnati, OH – Sept 5 to 15
– 8th COMMFFEST (Global) Community Film Festival, Toronto, CANADA – Sept 12 to 15
– NC Family Film Festival, Winton, NC – Sept 20
– Phenom Film Fest, Shreveport, LA – Sept 19 to 22
– The Northwest Ohio Independent Film Festival, Lima, OH – Sept 19 to 22
– Oaxaca FilmFest, Oaxaca Oaxaca, MEXICO – Sept 21 to 28
– Jaxon Film Fest, Jackson, MI – Sept 28 to 29
– YES Film Festival, Columbus, IN – Nov 1 to 3
– Brantford Film Festival, Brantford, ON, CANADA – Nov 14 to 16
A trailer for the film follows below.
Another film from DeShaun Davis, titled 55 Till Now, centers on Till’s 1955 murder – specifically, as the title suggests, its aftermath.
The independent docudrama stars Jonah Lampkin as Till. It’s one we first profiled a year ago, when it was still in production, but I haven’t received any word on its progress since then. Out last post says that it was set for release in November 2012, but it doesn’t look like that happened.
Both its Facebook and Twitter pages haven’t been updated since last September (2012). If I learn anything about its whereabouts from the filmmaker, I’ll update this post.
An early trailer for it also follows below.
Past films on Till’s story that are currently available to you to watch right now are: The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, a 2005 documentary directed by Keith Beauchamp; and The Murder of Emmett Till, produced and directed by award-winning documentarian Stanley Nelson, which aired on PBS in 2003 and won the 2004 Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film and Digital Media 2003 Emmy Award, Best Non-fiction Director Stanley Nelson 2003 Emmy Nomination, Best Screenplay Marcia Smith 2003 International Documentary Association Awards, and Distinguished Documentary Achievement 2003 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award.
Nelson’s documentary, which is highly recommended, is embedded below in full.
First, here’s the trailer for DAR HE: The Lynching of Emmett Till:
And here’s the trailer for 55 Till Now:
And here’s the entire Stanley Nelson documentary: