The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson
Longlisted for the National Book Award
Winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post Notable Book
An NPR Best Book of 2017
A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2017
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution Best Southern Book of 2017
This extraordinary New York Times bestseller re-examines a pivotal event of the civil rights movement—the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till—“and demands that we do the one vital thing we aren’t often enough asked to do with history: learn from it” (The Atlantic).
In 1955, white men in the Mississippi Delta lynched a fourteen-year-old from Chicago named Emmett Till. His murder was part of a wave of white terrorism in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared public school segregation unconstitutional. Only weeks later, Rosa Parks thought about young Emmett as she refused to move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, Black students who called themselves “the Emmett Till generation” launched sit-in campaigns that turned the struggle for civil rights into a mass movement. Till’s lynching became the most notorious hate crime in American history.
But what actually happened to Emmett Till—not the icon of injustice, but the flesh-and-blood boy? Part detective story, part political history, The Blood of Emmett Till “unfolds like a movie” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), drawing on a wealth of new evidence, including a shocking admission of Till’s innocence from the woman in whose name he was killed. “Jolting and powerful” (The Washington Post), the book “provides fresh insight into the way race has informed and deformed our democratic institutions” (Diane McWhorter, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Carry Me Home) and “calls us to the cause of justice today” (Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP).
“The Blood of Emmett Tillis a work critical not just to our understanding of something that happened in America in 1955 but of what happens in America here and now. It is a jolting and powerful book... swift-flying and meticulously researched.”
– Leonard Pitts, The Washington Post
“An insightful, revealing and important new inquiry into the tragedy that mobilized and energized a generation of Americans to stand and fight against racial bigotry.”
– Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author of Just Mercy
“Tim Tyson’s genius as a historian, author, and social visionary informs his unique commitment to write truth to power authentically and fearlessly.”
– Dr. Benjamin Chavis, former executive director of the NAACP
“What sets Tyson's book apart is the wide-angle lens he uses to examine the lynching, and the ugly parallels between past and present… A terrific writer and storyteller, Tyson compels a closer look at a heinous crime and the consequential decisions, large and small, that made it a national issue.”
–Minneapolis Star Tribune
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster (December 5, 2017)