Poet Philip Kolin has published a new book of poetry on the legacy of Emmett Till, giving Till a contemporary voice among race tragedies from his death through to today. It is a deeply moving, creative body of work that belongs next to the other Till literature.
The poems in Emmett Till in Different States span more than 7 decades of events in Emmett Till’s legacy from the 1940s to the present. In them Philip Kolin shows how Emmett Till’s importance has expanded from being a Civil Rights martyr to becoming a choric, heroic commentator on the tragedies of Civil Rights injustices (e.g. Medgar Evers’s murder, the Freedom Riders, the murders of Chicago’s children, Trayvon Martin), and a voice of conscience for America to hear and heed. The title of this collection points to the multiple ways we can see Emmett Till through time and space (e.g. geographic, historical, psychological, and theological.)