University of Rochester

EVENT: Frederick Douglass Institute Presents Award-Winning Documentary

October 13, 2004

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelsonís The Murder of Emmett Till will be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in Hubbell Auditorium of Hutchison Hall on the University of Rochesterís River Campus. Journalist Moses Newson, who reported on the trial of Emmett Tillís killers for the Memphis-based Tri-State Defender, will be present to discuss the film.

The showing is free for University of Rochester faculty, staff, and students; $25 tickets for the general public will be available at the door. It is co-sponsored by the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies and WXXI Public Broadcasting.

At 2 a.m. on Aug. 28, 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was abducted from his uncleís house in Money, Miss., by two white men who accused him of whistling at a white woman in a store. A Chicago resident on a visit with family, Till wasnít accustomed to the unspoken laws of the racially segregated South and was killed. The film explores Tillís story and legacy.

The murder is considered a crucial piece of history in mobilizing the Civil Rights Movement. The arrest of Rosa Parks, who violated Alabamaís segregation laws by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a city bus, occurred just 100 days after Tillís death. Her arrest, in turn, led to a citywide bus boycott and the emergence of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Civil Rights Movement.

The Murder of Emmett Till earned Nelson a 2003 Emmy award for best nonfiction direction from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as an Emmy nomination for screenwriting. Nelson also received a Special Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival for the film.

Shortly after reporting on the case in Tennessee, Newson moved to Baltimore and worked as a reporter, city editor, and executive editor for the Afro-American Newspapers. Newson will take questions after the screening. For more information, contact the Frederick Douglass Institute at (585) 275-7235.