Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Definitive History Book on Emmett Till Set for August Publication -- 60th Anniversary of Till's Death in Mississippi

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(NOTE -- Devery Anderson's fascinating notes on the family and major players involved in the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, and of those involved in the trial of his murderers, appear at the end of The Emmett Till Book, by Susan Klopfer.)

Author Devery Anderson: Photo by Emily Hatch

Author Devery S. Anderson has announced that his newest book, Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement, is set for publication in August 2015 by the University Press of Mississippi, and features a forward by civil rights icon, Julian Bond.
[My new Emmett Till book] is based on hundreds of hours of archival research, sifting through dozens of newspaper stories, as well as original interviews with those who witnessed the case unfold, including Emmett Till’s family members who were with him in Mississippi, trial witnesses, and newspaper reporters who covered the story in 1955. It also brings the case up to the present, including the recent FBI investigation. Julian Bond, civil rights legend and former chair of the NAACP, has written the foreword.

(Quote From Anderson's website,http://www.emmetttillmurder.com)

CIVIL RIGHTS AUTHOR DEVERY ANDERSON TELLS website followers that he first became acquainted with Emmett Till in the fall of 1994, as a student at the University of Utah,  after watching the first segment of the PBS documentary series on the Civil Rights Movement, Eyes on the Prize.

"Emmett’s murder and the subsequent acquittal of his killers left me full of questions. What happened to the killers after their acquittal? What happened to Emmett’s mother? Was she alive, or had she died somewhere in obscurity? Why was I not already familiar with this case?" Anderson was soon asking himself.

It was several months later, that Anderson discovered at least one book on the subject in print, "and so I purchased Stephen Whitfield’s A Death in the Delta: The Story of Emmett Till."'

BUT THEN, CLENORA HUDSON-WEEMS, professor of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia, soon came to speak at the University of Utah in May 1995. Her lecture was on another topic, yet the school newspaper noted that she was the author of the book,Emmett Till: The Sacrificial Lamb of the Civil Right’s Movement, Anderson tells his followers on his Emmett Till website at http://www.emmetttillmurder.com/.

Anderson attended Hudson-Weems' lecture, purchased her book and soon was full of questions. "I read both of these books and wanted to learn more. Both were written at a time when research, writing, and a renewed interest in the Till case was in its infancy, and I eventually discovered that they contained many factual errors, but they did whet my appetite for more."

OVER THE ENSURING YEARS, the Utah resident found that this case consumed him "... in ways I could not quite explain."

In 1996, while still a student at the University of Utah, Anderson took a class on racism. Students were given a major assignment, due at the end of the quarter, "that we would each present to the class. I decided that I would put together a scrapbook on the Emmett Till case and include an original interview with Mamie Till-Mobley, Emmett’s mother."

Surprisingly, Anderson found it was not difficult to locate Till-Mobley in the Chicago telephone directory and he wrote her a letter and arranged a time for a telephone interview. Their two-hour conversation took place on December 3, 1996 and was followed by "dozens" more, over the next six years up until a month before her January 2003 death.


Anderson's fact-filled website allows him a way to contribute to the spread of knowledge about the Emmett Till murder. The author researched and wrote his new book between 2004 and 2014; he lives in Salt Lake City, and is the father of three children, Amanda, Tyler, and Jordan. Anderson holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Utah.
From reviewers

"The manuscript is balanced, clearly organized, exhaustively researched, and well written. The narrative flows logically and will hold the attention of readers who are otherwise unfamiliar with the case. Right now, and probably for decades to come, it will be the definitive work on this subject. The manuscript will not only be of interest to a general readership but historians in such fields as civil rights history, the history of the South, and legal history. It offers much that is entirely new to our understanding of this topic and/or sheds an original light on old questions. This book will deserve a place in any good library."

—David T. Beito, co,author, Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power

"Much has been written about the Till case in the past decade, but what has been missing is a definitive history of the case. This book provides that definitive history. The author gives a thorough account of the case from almost every angle. I am very familiar with the scholarship on Emmett Till, and the author has left no stone unturned. ...A reader coming to the case for the first time will get the best account we have of the case; scholars familiar with it will learn new details from new sources, and will be persuaded by how well the author settles long debated controversies about what happened and when. The author knows where the historical record is murky or contradictory, and he never rushes to judgment. When he does settle a controversy, he marshals the requisite evidence. When he is not able to settle a controversy, he presents the contradictory evidence and leaves it unresolved. Anyone interested in this case will find this book a valuable guide to the full story of Emmett Till."

—Christopher Metress, ed., The Lynching of Emmett Till: A Documentary Narrative


ONE FINAL NOTEI am really looking forward to reading this new book. From time to time I have been in contact with Devery throughout his research process. I know that he has traveled to Europe and elsewhere in search of latest information on this civil rights crime that helped spark the modern civil rights movement. In the future, I will ask him to answer some of my questions, and to tell us more about the book. sk

Monday, February 9, 2015

MLK's Mother Was Assassinated, Too: The Forgotten Women Of Black History Month

(Editor's note: On June 30th, 1974, Alberta Williams King was gunned down while she played the organ for the “Lord’s Prayer” at Ebenezer Baptist Church. As a Christian civil rights activist, she was assassinated...just like her son, Martin Luther King, Jr. But most people remember only one I certainly DID NOT KNOW this story, until I read an article by Aurin Squire. I've put up a link so that you can read his article, too. He makes a number of interesting statements about his acquisition of black history. It's a wonderful article to read during Black History Month. Read it, and share your comments, please.)

Alberta Williams King, victim of assassination

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Anne Moody's Former College Professor Recalls This 'Gifted Mississippi Activist and Writer'

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(Editor's note: Sociologist John R. Salter, Jr. is a well-known civil rights and labor activist. I am proud to publish this following piece he has written on Anne Moody, his former student at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi. On a personal note, I never met her, but Moody's book, Coming of Age in Mississippi, gave me powerful insight into the civil rights struggles of her times. It is a wonderful book, and a "must read." Moody died at the age of 74 on Thursday, Feb.5, 2015. Susan Klopfer)

* * *

Mississippi author and civil rights activist, Anne Moody 

... we shall always remember a brave and plucky and committed 
human being who, despite the many and various vicissitudes, 
continued toward the Sun.   

John R. Salter, Jr.

I and my good spouse, Eldri, knew Anne Moody from the point that we and Anne arrived at Tougaloo Southern Christian College in late summer, 1961, myself as a professor and she as a student. We were in contact with her from about that point until late summer, 1994.

She was a fine student of mine in a number of courses, and became a close friend of Eldri and myself.  Passionately committed to social justice, Anne was a strong supporter of our Jackson civil rights movement which began very actively in latter 1962 as the economic boycott of the downtown Jackson area and which feathered out into our massive Jackson Movement in the spring of 1963.  
If Anne often distrusted some components of government, she was an essentially trusting person when it came to human beings.
Her role in our historic Woolworth Sit-In at Jackson Mississippi on May 28, 1963, is very well known. After the active demonstration phase of the Jackson Movement, she lent her valuable efforts as a CORE representative in other most challenging Magnolia [Mississippi state flower] situations. Her fine writing abilities are very well exemplified in her classic work, Coming of Age in Mississippi, and in a number of other pieces.

Moody's Coming of Agein Mississippi, a "must read."

In addition to being a very good friend, she was also, as a great many of my students and former students often are, an advisee of mine, and I her advocate, at many points. (From that perspective, I am ethically constrained from discussing any details in any personal challenges she may have faced.  I maintain confidences.  There is no chronological statute of limitations for me on those.)

But I will broadly mention two matters.  If Anne often distrusted some components of government, she was an essentially trusting person when it came to human beings.  In almost all of those cases, that trust was eminently justified.

But not all.  In 1991, she was significantly enmeshed – through no fault of her own –- in a bureaucratic/medical situation in New York City where she resided. She was able to contact me.  I extricated her from that mess pronto.
Her book, Coming of Age in Mississippi, guarantees her immortality.
In the earlier part of 1994, and not of her making, "something" tangibly occurred in which she had very good reason to fear for her personal liberty in New York City.  A faithful neighbor of hers, an elderly Jewish man, worked with me (I was in North Dakota) to put her on a fast track to our university town of Grand Forks in that rather remote state.  For about three months, in the spring of 1994, she and her son, Sasha, lived in a motel quite near our home. We assisted her in a number of ways, as we had on earlier occasions, and continued that for a time into the summer after she and Sasha moved on back East and contact with other writers. Then, we lost touch with her.

Her book, Coming of Age in Mississippi, guarantees her immortality.  But more than that, we shall always remember a brave and plucky and committed human being who, despite the many and various vicissitudes, continued toward the Sun.

Hunter Gray/ John R Salter Jr. / Hunter Bear, Pocatello, Idaho, February 6 2015

... at the Mississippi lunch counter

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(From Jerry Mitchell of The Clarion Ledger, Feb. 7, 2015):

Born in 1940 in Wilkinson County, she attended segregated schools and worked to help her poor family.

While attending Natchez Junior College, she became involved with the civil rights movement. She then attended Tougaloo College, where her involvement grew deeper.

On May 28, 1963, she took part in the sit-in at Woolworth's in downtown Jackson. A mob attacked her, Joan Trumpauer and Tougaloo professor John Salter Jr. and others, hitting them and pouring flour, salt, sugar and mustard on top of them.

It was the most violent response to a sit-in in the 1960s in the U.S.)

* * *
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq / St. Francis Abenaki / St. Regis Mohawk 
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari' . Check out our massive social justice website:

Member, National Writers Union AFL-CIO

Core dimensions of my Community Organizing course:

Some early personal activist history / good people and issues:


My expanded/updated "Organizer's Book,"
JACKSON MISSISSIPPI -- with a new 10,000
word introduction by me. Covers much of my
confrontational social justice organizing life to
date. Contains much how-to grassroots organizing
methodology: http://hunterbear.org/jackson.htm

See this for mini-bio, efforts to prevent JM’s appearance in
Mississippi, a wide range of its many reviews, and some
photos: http://www.amazon.com/John-R.-Salter/e/B001KMEHWY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

The Stormy Adoption of an Indian Child [My Father]: