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Saturday, March 4, 2006
In the Mail: The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:26 pm

I was sent a review copy of The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till that was released at the end of last month for Black History Month and I finally got around to viewing it a week or so ago, and now have gotten around to a review.

The film itself is a pretty straightforward documentary that tells the story of Emmett Till via interviews with survivors and via news footage from the event. It is essentially linear storytelling and is, in that regard, unremarkable. However, it isn’t for the art of cinema that one should see this film; still, it is worthwhile because it does remind us of a dark portion of our own history—one that we don’t always seem willing to full acknowledge.

The degree to which this is an “untold” story is dubious (for example, there was a PBS documentary and recent press coverage because the Justice Department re-opened the case). However, it is wholly fair to call it undertold.

However, the essential underlying story is far from mundane-indeed, it is quite horrifying. The notion that there was ever a time or place in the United States of America where a teenager’s flirtation could result in his brutal death simply because he was black and she was white, is revolting, to say the least. Even worse, the kidnapping and brutal murder of the young man was not considered worthy of punishment by a Mississippi jury.

If one is unfamiliar with the story, this film is worth viewing. It is a dramatic reminder of where race relations (if one could even call them that) once were in places like Mississippi.

I will say this about the film-this is an easy and obvious source to access this important element of of past, one which we all should be familiar, and yet on balance we are not. For that reason alone the film is worth viewing.

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