Emmett Till was a teenager from Chicago who spent the summer of 1955 with relatives in Mississippi. Till was accused of whistling at a White women. For this violation of the unwritten laws of Jim Crow, Till was brutally murdered and his death became a lightening rod for the civil rights movement. A trial with an all-White jury acquitted two White men of Till’s murder. The men later boasted in an interview with Look magazine that they had committed the murder.
Now David W. Houck, a professor in the College of Communication and Information at Florida State University has created an archive of materials concerning the Emmett Till case. The collection will feature newspaper clippings, court records, police reports, and transcript of interviews of people who were involved.
Included in the archive will be Houck’s own research materials for his co-authored book Emmett Till and the Mississippi Press (University Press of Mississippi, 2008). Also part of the collection will be the research used by author Devery Anderson for his book Emmett Till: The Murder that Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement (University Press of Mississippi, 2015) and oral histories collected by filmmaker Keith Beauchamp for his documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till.
The archive will include more than 8,000 pages of FBI reports from when the federal government reopened the case in 2004 to see if there was evidence linking any other individuals to the murder. The complete collection will be available to researchers in 2016 at the Special Collections Research Center at the Strozier Library on the campus of Florida State University.