65 years ago today (Aug 28, 1955), 14-year-old Emmett Louis Till was tortured and lynched. And following his death, his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, spent her life making sure her son’s unfair and tragic story was heard and felt all over the world. 65 years later, Mamie Till Mobley’s story of justice is being told.
Writer/director Chinonye Chukwu will direct a feature film about Emmett Till’s tragic death and his mother Mamie Till Mobley pursuit of justice following his death. The film will explore Mobley’s insistence to have an open casket to show her son’s mangled face at the hands of a white mob. An action that helped propel the civil rights movement.
The image of Till’s face sent shockwaves far and wide.
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr called Till’s murder “one of the most brutal and inhuman crimes of the twentieth century.”
Rosa Parks spoke on Emmett Till as part of her decision not to give up her seat on the bus. “I thought of Emmett Till and when the bus driver ordered me to move to the back, I just couldn’t move,” she said.
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The story is based on the research conducted by documentarian Keith Beauchamp. He had a deep relationship with Mamie Till Mobley and Emmett Till’s cousin, Simeon Wright. Wright was an eyewitness to the kidnapping of Till. He served as a consultant to the project before his death in 2017. For more than 27 years, Beauchamp has investigated the kidnapping, torture and murder of Emmett Till.
Till was killed for whistling at a white woman, who has since recanted the allegations.
The United States Department of Justice eventually reopened the case in 2004.
“I’m truly excited that we are teaming up with Chinonye to tell this powerful story. With Emmett Till’s name being spoken today among Black Lives Matter chants, it is more important than ever to understand why this senseless murder took place and the selfless actions taken by my dear friend Mrs Mamie Till Mobley that led to the mobilization of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement,” explains Keith Beauchamp. This isn’t a movie, it’s a movement.”
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Beauchamp’s research formed the basis for the original screenplay he co-authored with Michael J P Reilly and Chinonye Chukwu.
“I am deeply honored to be telling this story and working with such an incredible producing team,” Chukwu said. “Amidst the pain and brutality that is inherent to Mamie and Emmett’s story, I intend to delve deeply into their humanities, the love and joy they shared, and the activist consciousness that grows within Mamie as she seeks justice for her son.”
Keith Beauchamp, Barbara Broccoli, Whoopi Goldberg, Thomas K Levine, Michael J P Reilly and Frederick Zollo will produce The Till family story.
“Today the return of open racism reminds us that the real danger is in NOT telling Emmett Till’s story,” Whoopi Goldberg said. “Chinonye Chukwu taking the helm as our director is an opportunity for us to step forward artfully and without fear to tell the truth. We could not be in better hands.”
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Congress is in the process of ratifying the Emmett Till Antilynching Act. The Emmett Till Antilynching Act establishes a new criminal rights violation for lynching. Lynching is still happening in 2020, by the way. The Smithsonian Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington DC houses a room dedicated to Emmett Till’s original glass topped casket.
Endeavor Content is representing worldwide rights. Production for the film will begin in 2021 coinciding with what would have been Emmett Till’s 80th birthday.