A small oral history grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council to record local memories of the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 in the Mississippi delta has resulted in a traveling exhibition, creation of the Mississippi Civil Rights Trail and summer seminars for educators about the Mississippi Delta.

Delta State University’s Emmett Till Exhibit is currently featured on the National Endowment for the Humanities website.

The Mississippi Humanities Council gave a mini grant to Delta State University for an oral history project to record local people about the Till kidnapping and murder. The research that this grant began grew into an exhibition that has traveled around the country over the last five years. In 2011, during the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders, the Emmett Till project resulted in the dedication of the first of many historical markers of the Mississippi Civil Rights Trail, located in Money, MS, near where young Till was abducted. This summer Luther Brown will host the third NEH Landmarks Teacher Workshop about the Mississippi Delta in June and July at Delta State University.

Barbara Carpenter, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council, writes that Luther Brown and Henry Outlaw, the scholars who have pursued and developed these projects along with Emily Weaver, “‘really believe that it was the MHC grant that started the whole thing. Who knows where we would be today if MHC had not supported Henry’s original oral history project. [The Council’s] support planted the seed ...’”

Posted on May 03 2012