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The senseless killing of Emmett Till sent shockwaves across the nation, shining a light on the systemic racism and bigotry plaguing Mississippi and the rest of the country. As a student and historian of the civil rights movement, Robert H. Mayer beautifully captures the tragedy of this moment and unearths the compelling, often-forgotten stories of the youth activists who rose up against this grave injustice. Combining comprehensive research with gripping storytelling, Mayer weaves a powerful narrative of the past to inspire young civil justice warriors of today.
In the Name of Emmett Till vividly explains how the brutal killing in 1955 of a fourteen-year-old boy in the Mississippi Delta inspired a generation of young people to fight for Black freedom. Mayer’s narrative details how the courageous activism of scores of Mississippi youth in the decade after Till's murder played a decisive role in dismantling the state's system of racial apartheid. This book is a powerful reminder that young people are always at the forefront of positive social change.
The death of Emmett Till lit the spark for many young activists. In the Name of Emmett Till tells their powerful stories. A most welcome book that proves that youth and inexperience are insignificant when coupled with a burning desire to make a difference.
From the horrific lynching of Emmett Till in 1955 to the groundswell of support for Freedom Schools nine years later, Robert Mayer traces how SNCC activists in their twenties like Bob Moses and Sam Block inspired local teenagers to sustain the civil rights movement in Mississippi. In Jackson, McComb, Greenwood, Canton, and other places, students used school walkouts, store boycotts, sit-ins, as well as voter registration drives to challenge endemic white supremacy. In clear compelling prose, the author presents the gripping personal stories of these young people who found their voices and changed the nation.
In the Name of Emmett Till presents stories of everyday people deeply affected and ultimately transformed by the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955. Rather than choose fear or despair, they discovered within their deepest selves the power not only to imagine a more just world but the courage to fight for it. Through deeply textured personal portraits, Robert Mayer brings their stories to life. His book is an unflinching, deeply researched, and evocative work.
I am grateful for this book by Robert Mayer. My life will be forever changed for having read about these young Mississippi activists, who in the wake of the tragic killing of Emmett Till imagined what hope could look like, who knew that to bring about a paradigm shift challenges would have to be faced. A fascinating work.
In the Name of Emmett Till shows how brave acts transformed lives and empowered others to work for justice, voting rights, and desegregation, feeding a movement that improved life for millions. A compelling history.