Bookwatch: Author Tim Tyson to discuss ‘The Blood of Emmett Till’

‘The Blood of Emmett Till’ by Tim Tyson
‘The Blood of Emmett Till’ by Tim Tyson

The New York Times calls Duke professor Timothy Tyson’s new book, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” “an account of absorbing and sometimes horrific detail.”

Tyson revisits the 1955 kidnapping and brutal killing of Till, a 14-year-old black youth from Chicago visiting relatives in Mississippi. At a country store, Till’s encounter with an attractive white woman broke the “color code” and prompted her husband and brother-in-law to punish him.

Tyson revisits the horrible details of Till's kidnapping the brutal beating and gunshot through Till's head that ended his life, and the attempt to hide his body by attaching a heavy fan to his body with barbed wire and tossing it into a nearby river.

A few days later, however, Till's bloated and mangled body was discovered and ultimately returned to Chicago, where his mother insisted on an open-casket funeral. The event captured the attention of the public as profoundly as the widely publicized images of Till's brutalized body.

More importantly, according to Tyson, “the impact of the Till lynching resonated across America for years, touching virtually everyone who heard.”

Tyson says that it motivated North Carolina A&T students who began a sit-in at Woolworth's in Greensboro on February 1, 1960. Also he says, the recent national movement born of the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and other similar killings, continues the tradition as “young protesters throughout the United States chanted, ‘Say his name! Emmett Till!’”

EDITOR’S NOTES: D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on WUNC-TV. This week, Tim Tyson talks about “The Blood of Emmett Till” Sunday, April 9 at noon and Thursday, April 13 at 5 p.m.