Special Collections

The Murder of Emmett Till Interviews

The Murder of Emmett Till Interviews Collection is made up of 40 raw interviews from the award-winning 2003 American Experience documentary, The Murder of Emmett Till. The film, which chronicles the story of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old who was murdered in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman, follows Till's life and transformation into an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. The Murder of Emmett Till interviews paint a picture of the Jim Crow South, the Mississippi community in which the murder took place, and contain intimate recollections by those who knew Emmett Till. Guests include family and friends of Emmett Till, including Mamie Till Mobley, Emmett Till's mother and Civil Rights activist; and Wheeler Parker, Emmett Till's cousin; as well as journalists, politicians, and witnesses, like Ernest Withers, a photographer known for his photos of the segregated South; Willie Reed, a witness who testified against Emmett Till's murderers; and David Jordan, a Senator from Mississippi. Topics include segregation, Jim Crow, lynching and violence, the American judicial system, journalism, the American South, and the Civil Rights Movement.

The Murder of Emmett Till interviews were conducted in 2003 for the American Experience documentary of the same name. Winner of a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming, the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize, and the George Foster Peabody Award, Stanley Nelson, Jr. served as the documentary's Director. American Experience, PBS' flagship history documentary series, premiered in 1988 and is produced at WGBH in Boston. In 2017, the WGBH Media Library and Archives digitized The Murder of Emmett Till interviews and in 2018 submitted them to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.