Grove City College’s Department of Communication Studies and Visual Arts, along with Students Excited About Diversity, sponsored a screening of “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till” on campus this week.
The viewing and a discussion afterward were intended to raise awareness of the case of Emmett Till, a black teenager who was kidnapped and brutally murdered in 1955 in Mississippi after allegedly whistling at a white woman, said Dr. Kim Miller, associate professor of Communication Studies.
“I am very pleased by the number of people who came out to share in this story, and also for the wonderful questions and conversation that followed the film. I’m hopeful we can do more of this kind of thing in the future to continue the conversation and work to end racial tension,” Miller said of the Monday event.
The documentary, directed and produced by Keith Beauchamp, reminds today’s viewers of the racial climate that surrounded Till’s murder and allowed those who committed the crime to remain free. The filmmakers revisit the public outrage that follows, revealing the Till family as particularly brave for standing up to white racism when it was clearly unsafe to do so.
“One of the things that strikes me most about Till’s story is how powerful it is and yet how few people actually know what happened. Until I saw this film, I admit to knowing only a fraction of the story,” Miller said. “As far as the film itself, I connected deeply with Till’s mother, and was so moved by her courage and ability to be emotionally and intellectually strong enough to recognize the importance of this event not just on her own family – which certainly would have been enough – but to also see the bigger picture and know that the way she handled herself, Emmett’s funeral, and the subsequent trial, was going to have lasting impact. Those were things I’m certain I’ll never forget.”
Dr. Todd Allen, Professor of Communication Studies and Natalia Harris ‘12, Director of Multicultural Education & Initiatives collaborated with Miller to host the event, which capped off the College’s observance of Black History Month. Harris also advises Grove City’s chapter of Students Excited About Diversity, which seeks to provide a safe and inviting atmosphere in which all students may engage in communal reflection and reconciliation on matters concerning race, ethnicity and culture.
To learn more about the Department of Communications and Visual Arts at Grove City College, visit www.gcc.edu/comm.