Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till of Chicago was kidnapped and killed in the early morning hours of August 28 in 1955 while visiting Mississippi relatives. The sight of his brutalized body in an open casket, displayed to thousands of Chicago mourners a week later, was the spark that lit the modern civil rights movement. Among those moved to action was Rosa Parks of Montgomery, Alabama.
(Susan Klopfer, from the Google Knol on Emmett Tilll)
Gallup, NM --Civil right author and blogger, Susan Klopfer, has learned her eBook, Who Killed Emmett Till?, was nominated for a Dan Poynter Golden eBooks Award. Winners will be announced in August.
"This is a true honor," Klopfer said. Her book, also available in print format, focuses on the true story of a young Chicago school boy, Emmett Till, who in 1955, while visiting his Mississippi relatives, was brutally murdered. When his body was returned home to Chicago, his mother allowed it to be openly displayed and some historians say this was the spark that ignited the modern civil rights movement.
Klopfer lived in the Mississippi Delta for several years on the grounds of Parchman Penitentiary where her husband was the chief psychologist for the state's prisons. "We lived only a few miles from the site where young Till was murdered. And so, I met and spoke with people who lived there at the time, picking up interesting new information and clues about the murder."
While two Mississippi men eventually confessed to the murder, they were found not guilty in a trial in nearby Sumner, Mississippi. Rosa Parks was upset over what had taken place, and this was a chief reason she decided to go forward with her decision to sit at the front of a city bus in Montgomery, Ala.
"And we know what happened after that. The Modern Civil Rights Movement was underway."
Klopfer has written extensively about this murder and other civil rights events taking place in the Mississippi Delta. Her first book, Where Rebels Roost; Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited, covers a wide range of time, from pre Civil War to 2004 as the FBI reopened the Emmett Till files as a cold cas.
"Still, too few people know this story. It is not taught in many history classes and it is so important. Reporters from all over the world attended the trial in tiny Sumner and the U.S. was in the spotlight for its mistreatment of black people in this country.
"As children, today, are brutally mistreated and become victims of wars and terrorism, we can turn to this story of a young kid who was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Klopfer said.
At the time Till visited his relatives in Mississippi, the Brown I and Brown II Supreme Court decisions over school segregation had been announced and tempers were flaring. In the small town of Belzoni, "right before Emmett came into Mississippi," the Rev. George Lee, an outspoken advocate of voting rights, was murdered in his car. "No one was ever prosecuted for this murder. Rev. Lee was a popular man and he, too, took the brunt of this extreme hatred and anger over the Brown decision," Klopfer said.
The New Mexico author has written a Google Knol on the Emmett Till book. A second book by Klopfer, Cash In On Diversity, has also been nominated.
"I certainly hope to win one of these awards. I guess I would be most pleased if it was for the Emmett Till book. This is a topic close to my heart."