Hello, my name is Devery Anderson. I want to thank you for your interest in the Emmett Till case, and for taking the time to look over this website.
I first became acquainted with Emmett Till in the fall of 1994, as a student at the University of Utah, after watching the first segment of the PBS documentary series on the Civil Rights Movement, Eyes on the Prize. Emmett’s murder and the subsequent acquittal of his killers left me full of questions. What happened to the killers after their acquittal? What happened to Emmett’s mother? Was she alive, or had she died somewhere in obscurity? Why was I not already familiar with this case?
Several months later I discovered that there was at least one book on the subject in print, and so I purchased Stephen Whitfield’s A Death in the Delta: The Story of Emmett Till. As fate would have it, Clenora Hudson-Weems, professor of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia, came to speak at the University of Utah in May 1995. Although her lecture was on another topic, the school newspaper noted that she was the author of the book, Emmett Till: The Sacrificial Lamb of the Civil Right’s Movement. I attended her presentation, purchased her book, and was full of questions. I read both of these books and wanted to learn more. Both were written at a time when research, writing, and a renewed interest in the Till case was in its infancy, and I eventually discovered that they contained many factual errors, but they did whet my appetite for more.
I found that this case was consuming me in ways I could not quite explain. In 1996, while still a student at the University of Utah, I took a class on racism. Students were given a major assignment, due at the end of the quarter, that we would each present to the class. I decided that I would put together a scrapbook on the Emmett Till case and include an original interview with Mamie Till-Mobley, Emmett’s mother. Luckily, I found her listed in the Chicago telephone directory and wrote her a letter. After later calling her, we arranged a time for a telephone interview. Although she thought she could only spare forty-five minutes, we talked for over two hours. That conversation on December 3, 1996 was the first of dozens that we held over the next six years. Our last conversation was a month before her January 2003 death.
This website is one way for me to contribute to the spread of knowledge about the Emmett Till murder. I will update it regularly as I continue to do research and gather information. My book, Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement, was published in August 2015. An updated paperback edition appeared in September 2017 (see link on this site).
I am currently writing a book on the case of Clyde Kennard, an African American man from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, who sought to integrate what is now the University of Southern Mississippi. His attempts were met with tragic results. Stay tuned for this book, which I hope to have finished in 2019.
In addition to my writing on Mississippi civil rights, I am a writer and researcher of other areas of American social and religious history. I have published several articles and am co-editor of two books on Mormon history that were released in August 2005, which together, won the award for Best Documentary at the annual meeting of the Mormon History Association in Casper, Wyoming in May, 2006 . I am also editor of a third volume that was published in March 2011, called The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846–2000: A Documentary History. My book, The Salt Lake School of the Prophets, 1967–1883 will be released in the summer of 2018
I currently live in Salt Lake City, Utah, and am the father of three children, Amanda, Tyler, and Jordan. I have a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Utah and will be earning a master's in publishing in August 2018 from George Washington University.
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