Summit: Honoring the 65th Anniversary of the Murder of Emmett Till
On August 28, 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was abducted from his uncle Mose Wright’s house in the Mississippi Delta and was brutally murdered by J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant. Till’s body was found three days later in the Tallahatchie River. Rev. Jesse Jackson described the murder of Emmett Till as “‘the big bang’… of the civil rights movement.”
To mark the 65th anniversary of Till’s murder, the Emmett Till Interpretive Center is hosting a summit during the day, followed by a reading with Mississippi author Kiese Laymon (author of Heavy, winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction) in the evening.
We are honored to have Emmett Till’s cousin, Rev. Wheeler Parker, Jr., join us for our first panel. Rev. Parker was will Till on the train down from Chicago and the night that he was abducted from Mose Wright’s house. Rev. Parker will speak for the first 30 minutes of the first panel.
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Eastern: Emmett Till and Justice
- Rev. Wheeler Parker, Jr., cousin of Emmett Till
- Pastor Willie Williams, co-chair, Emmett Till Memorial Commission
- Vangela Wade, President and CEO, Mississippi Center for Justice
- Dale Killinger, former FBI Section Chief
- Moderator: Dr. Susan Glisson, co-founder, Sustainable Equity
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM Eastern: Emmett Till and Memorialization
- Dr. Marvel Parker, Till family member and leader of efforts to restore Roberts Temple in Chicago
- Chris Benson, Associate Professor of journalism at Northwestern University and co-author of Mamie Till-Mobley’s autobiography, Death of Innocence (2003)
- Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer, National Trust
- Dr. Dave Tell, Professor of Communications and Co-Director of the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Kansas, author of Remembering Emmett Till (2019)
- Moderator: Nikki Buffa, Latham Watkins, LLC
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM Eastern: “Emmett Till was my George Floyd” – The late Rep. John Lewis
- Isabel Spafford, University of Mississippi student organizer
- Maisie Brown, organizer of the Jackson BLM march
- Albert Sykes, Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Education in America
- Moderator: Von Gordon, Youth Engagement Manager, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation
8:00 PM – 9:30 PM Eastern: Reading and Conversation with Mississippi Author Kiese Laymon (please register here for this evening event–it will have a different Zoom link)
This event will be taking place virtually via Zoom webinar. You will receive the link on the submission page after you register and in a reminder email. The same link will be used for all panel discussions during the day.