Danny Glover stars in the Culture Project's staged reading of Emmett, Down in My Heart, a play by Clare Coss about the brutal 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi. Kenny Leon directs.
The play tells a sobering and gripping story of race relations in the Jim Crow south, and offers reflections on bigotry and the need to heal the divided soul of our country that are all too relevant today.
In August 1955 Emmett Till, a fourteen year old African-American Chicago boy, rode south to visit his cousins in the Mississippi Delta, at that time a rigidly segregated police state. White supremacists ruled, with fear and anger paramount.
Accused of wolf-whistling at Carolyn Bryant, a twenty-one year old white woman storekeeper, he was abducted three days later at midnight from his great uncle's home. Tortured, murdered, and thrown in the Tallahatchie River weighted down by a hundred pound cotton gin fan, his murderers were later acquitted of any crime.
After Emmett's mother insisted on an open casket so the world could witness the horrors inflicted on her son, a floodlight of attention gave new inspiration to the Civil Rights Movement. Three months later in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks said Emmett Till was on her mind when she refused to move to the back of the bus.