Monday, April 30, 2007

Emmett Till

Every once in a while you read a book that is so well written, so powerful, and so thought provoking that it stays with you long after you have read the last page. The Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America by Mamie Till-Mobley and Christopher Benson is such a book. It is Emmett Till's story told by his mother, about his life, his tragic death, and his immeasurable legacy.

I can't stop thinking about it, processing it and marveling in one thought about how far civil rights and our nation have come since 1955, to being disheartened by my next thought that racism still exists in 2007. From feeling fortunate that I live in a diverse community, to worrying if people in my community feel threatened by me because of the color of my skin. I contemplate if our nation will ever be able to truly heal such deep wounds. Does time heal all wounds, or is there something we can do?

I had the opportunity to hear Christopher Benson speak at a Diversity Forum hosted by the Lincoln Trail Library System. He said his goal was to go to bed exhausted, to do all that he could do every single day. He was inspirational. It is imperative that libraries do all they can do to respect and celebrate the diversity in the communities they serve.

Cindy Fuerst
Library Director

1 Comments:

Blogger Allison said...

I agree that the Emmett Till murder is a very sobering piece of American history. My husband wrote a paper in college on Emmett Till and called the Emmett Till Foundation in Chicago with the intention on interviewing someone from the Foundation. The woman who answered the phone was Mamie Till, Emmett's mother! They ended up having a lengthy phone conversation and she invited him to a gospel concert that they were having at a Chicago church. He went and met her and interviewed her for his paper. He said that she was a fascinating woman. She died a few years ago, but I know that educating people about what happened to her son was a lifelong goal of hers. The old adage of "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it" is one of the reasons why I think it is so important that Emmett's story is told.

May 01, 2007 12:15 PM  

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