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Rain Dog The Ballads of Emmett Till - BBC Radio 4 (4) The Ballads of Emmett Till - BBC Radio 4 22 Aug 18


Just letting people know about the following which is due to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday 25.8.18 at 20.00

The Ballads of Emmett Till

Emmett Till, 14 & black, was put on the train from Chicago by his mother Mamie in August 1955. She got him back in a pine box. His corpse mutilated & stinking. He had been beaten, shot and dumped in the Tallahatchie River for supposedly whistling at a white woman. His killers would forever escape justice.

What Mamie did next helped galvanize the Civil Rights Movement & make Emmett the sacrificial lamb of the movement. From the very first Till's death was both a call to political action & the subject of songs, poetry & prose. Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell & many more have been drawn to tell his tale-his is the never ending ballad of a black life that mattered.

His disfigured image was seared into the memories of generations of Black Americans by a legendary photograph in Jet magazine-that image still resonates. And now Till has returned to haunt America. First taken up by the mothers and fathers of the slain in the Black Lives Matter movement, the subject of new documentaries, a trio of forthcoming Hollywood films & crucially a cold case recently reopened by the FBI as the search for justice continues. His coffin is enshrined at the heart of the nation in Washington's new museum of African American history-a secular shrine and symbol of the enduring pain of American racism.

Maria Margaronis travels through landscape & memory across Mississippi & Chicago, listening to historians, poets, writers & Till family members as she grapples with the many layers of meaning & the many, many ways Emmett's story has been told & retold. Both by Black & White Americans. These are the Ballads of Emmett Till.

Producer Mark Burman.

The Ballads of Emmett Till


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