The mother of Emmett Till recounts the story of her life, her son’s tragic death, and the dawn of the civil rights movement—with a foreword by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
In August 1955, a fourteen-year-old African American, Emmett Till, was visiting family in Mississippi when he was kidnapped from his bed in the middle of the night by two white men and brutally murdered. His crime: allegedly whistling at a white woman in a convenience store. The killers were eventually acquitted.
What followed altered the course of this country’s history—and it was all set in motion by the sheer will, determination, and courage of Mamie Till-Mobley, whose actions galvanized the civil rights movement, leaving an indelible mark on our racial consciousness. Death of Innocence is an essential document in the annals of American civil rights history, and a painful yet beautiful account of a mother’s ability to transform tragedy into boundless courage and hope.
Praise for Death of Innocence
“A testament to the power of the indestructible human spirit [that] speaks as eloquently as the diary of Anne Frank.”—The Washington Post Book World
“With this important book, [Mamie Till-Mobley] has helped ensure that the story of her son (and her own story) will not soon be forgotten. . . . A riveting account of a tragedy that upended her life and ultimately the Jim Crow system.”—Chicago Tribune
“The book will . . . inform or remind people of what a courageous figure for justice [Mamie Till-Mobley] was and how important she and her son were to setting the stage for the modern-day civil rights movement.”—The Detroit News
“Poignant . . . In his mother’s descriptions, Emmett becomes more than an icon; he becomes a living, breathing youngster—any mother’s child.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Powerful . . . [Mamie Till-Mobley’s] courage transformed her loss into a moral compass for a nation.”—Black Issues Book Review
Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Special Recognition • BlackBoard Nonfiction Book of the Year
This book was incredible, it sent chills down my body . As a mother with only one child my self I could not imagine the ordeal or yet alone being able to keep going after something so tragic , but that is truly a strength of us mothers . Long live mother Mobley .55
Growing up my mother and aunts told me the story but to read it; to connect with it, with “Mama Mobley” and “Bo” the way that this story allowed me to was incredible. Naturally, this story invoked so many emotions. I felt so close to this family. Aside from the horrific murder of Emmett, I could see my family in this family. My family migrated to New York when they were young and raised their kids there while others stayed in their home, Birmingham, AL. Thank you Mama Mobley for telling your story. I only wish that I got a chance to meet you.55
Up to this point in my life I had only read newspaper articles of this tragic event. This book has provided an insight to the true meaning of Hate Crimes. I can only wonder if the descendants of the murderers that committed this hideous crime will ever step forward to tell their story. I wonder what they will say.55