ITTA BENA, Miss.— Devery S. Anderson stood before an attentive crowd in Mississippi Valley State University’s W. A. Butts Social Science Auditorium Wednesday evening for a nearly one-hour discussion centered around Emmett Till.
MVSU and the Mississippi Humanities Council sponsored Anderson for a lecture to discuss his award-winning 2015 book, “Emmett Till, The Murder that Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement”.
The talk focused on the 1955 murder of the black teenager and Anderson’s journey to learn about the Till story and its impact on the civil rights movement.
“I was introduced to the Emmett Till case when I watched ‘Eyes on The Prize’ and wondered why I didn’t know anything about this case already,” said Anderson. That introduction to Emmett’s story started a 24-year journey with me and Emmett Till.”
That journey culminated with the release of the book.
The author described how he became consumed by the case and how he moved from simply collecting information to researching and writing for a decade.
“The thing that prompted that for me was in the spring of 2004, the Justice Department reopened the case and started investigating it because documentaries had been done and suggested that there were other people involved,” Anderson said.
“It’s an important piece of our past, but it’s also becoming a big piece of our present because the case was reopened.”
All in all, Anderson wanted students to take away one thing about life.
“When something grabs you and consumes you, don’t ignore it—do something about it,” he shared.