On display until October 12th at the Karl Mundt Library, you can find an exhibit dedicated to the Emmett Till murder trial. Anyone can go check it out, but I recommend that everyone takes a look and sees what this exhibit has to offer.
At the age of 14, Emmett Louis Till was murdered August 28th 1955 for inappropriately talking to Carolyn Bryant, a white woman. This act of senseless violence and hatred sparked a media circus. It brought the civil rights movement out of the South and into the masses.
The exhibit provides us with an entry into the events of the Emmett Till trial. It promotes us to think deeply about what civil rights really means to us, and of what it took for us as a people to realize we needed to change.
In an interview with history professor Dr. Kurt Kemper, I gained some insight on what can be learned from the murder of Emmett Till. He stressed the biggest thing the death of Emmett Till did for the United States was to give civil rights a rallying point to move forward from.
We also discussed how Emmett’s mother wanted an open casket at her son’s funeral so the world could see what had been done to her son. The picture of her son disfigured in his casket is missing from the exhibit. She wanted people to see what the intolerance of others did to her son, which is the same thing this exhibit asks us to do. We both agreed that the importance of this exhibit is to show us how difficult it has been to get where we are today, and to remind us not to repeat the same mistakes of our past.
There are several programs coinciding with the Emmett Till exhibit on display. A round table discussion with members of the South Dakota African American History Museum can be attended on September 18th.
Lectures pertaining to topics like: “The Lynching of Emmett Till and Symbolic Interactionism: Individual and Social Interpretations of Violence”, “Art for Art’s Sake is a Luxury and a Lie: The Art of African Americans in an Era of Lynching”, “Come Meet Jim Crow”, “Voices of Progress: Inspiring Social Change through Music in 20th Century America”, and “Science Flunks the Midterm: Eugenics and Racism in 20th Century America” will be offered while the exhibit is on display.
You can find information about each event on the DSU website or watch for them in the DSU activities postings.