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Emmett Till expert can comment on enduring nature of the case

Thursday, July 12, 2018

LAWRENCE – News that the U.S. Department of Justice has reopened the 63-year-old murder case of black teenager Emmett Till is just the latest example of the power of the civil rights martyr’s story, according to a University of Kansas professor who has studied the case extensively and helped lead the Emmett Till Memory Project.

“The 1955 murder of Emmett Till continues to haunt American culture precisely because the case has never been settled,” said David Tell, a professor in the Department of Communication Studies. “Myths continue to circulate about what happened the night Till was killed, and justice is yet to be served. Until we tell the truth about that awful night, and until justice is served, Till’s murder will continue to haunt us.”

Tell has written a book about how the legacy of the Till murder has haunted four communities in the Mississippi Delta for more than 60 years. Titled “Remembering Emmett Till,” the book will be published by the University of Chicago Press in Spring 2019.

To interview Dave Tell about the enduring myths of the Emmett Till case or how they have affected those living closest to the murder, please contact KU News Service Public Affairs Officer Rick Hellman, 785-864-8852 or rick_hellman@ku.edu.