The Blood of Emmett Till

Timothy B. Tyson. Simon & Schuster, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4767-1484-4
With rare immediacy, Tyson (Blood Done Sign My Name) revisits the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi and the acquittal of those responsible in a gripping account of the cultural milieu of a racist environment. The work is informed by the retrospective of Carolyn Bryant (the woman whose short interaction with Till set the ensuing developments in motion), supported by the recollections of many who witnessed, participated in, testified to, and reported about the crime at the time, and strengthened by Tyson’s diligent research through contemporaneous accounts and archival materials as well as recent scholarship. Two families—the victim’s and the killers’—and their extended kinships occupy the center of the narrative, as Tyson describes the enmeshment of their lives with the legal apparatus that included several sheriffs, the prosecution and defense teams, the judge, and the jury (“all men, all white”). He also removes a multitude of other involved people from obscurity and gives them dimension. Tyson’s remarkable achievement is that each thread is explored in detail, backstories as well as main events, while he maintains a page-turning readability for what might seem a familiar tale. Cinematically engaging, harrowing, and poignant, Tyson’s monumental work illuminates Emmett Till’s murder and serves as a powerful reminder that certain stories in history merit frequent retelling. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 10/24/2016
Release date: 01/31/2017
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4767-1486-8
Paperback - 978-1-4767-1485-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-5200-6504-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-5200-6500-7
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