Download A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson PDF

By Marilyn Nelson

A Coretta Scott King and Printz honor e-book now in paperback. A Wreath for Emmett until is "A relocating elegy," says The Bulletin.

In 1955 humans everywhere in the usa knew that Emmett Louis until used to be a fourteen-year-old African American boy lynched for supposedly whistling at a white lady in Mississippi. The brutality of his homicide, the open-casket funeral held via his mom, Mamie until Mobley, and the acquittal of the lads attempted for the crime drew vast media awareness. In a profound and chilling poem, award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson reminds us of the boy whose destiny helped spark the civil rights flow.

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Additional resources for A Wreath for Emmett Till

Sample text

If Emmett Till was a baseball fan, he would probably have wanted to wear a White Sox cap. V. " Mary was "proclaimed blest" by the angel who came to her at the Annunciation, when she was pregnant, and said, "Hail, Mary, Mother of God. " Mamie Till Mobley insisted that her son should lie in an open casket so the world could see how savagely he had been murdered. His naked body was horribly mangled, his nose severed, his head cleaved nearly in two, one eye gouged out. For the rest of her life, Emmett's mother was an activist for civil rights.

I did not want to be too literal here, showing his actual body, since I felt a symbol would be more thought-provoking. For me, the tree becomes both the place of Emmett's execution and the symbol of his corpse. On the tree stump, the mandrake plant, with its anthropomorphic shape, is a metaphor for Emmett's victimhood (traditionally, the mandrake was depicted as growing under gallows). The crows surrounding the scene have a double meaning. For nineteenth-century Romantic poets, crows represented death and had a strong negative connotation.

I'd let you live through a happy boyhood, let your gifts bloom into a livelihood on a planet that didn't bear Cain's curse. I'd put you in a nice, safe universe, not like this one. A universe where you'd surpass your mother's dreams. But parallel realities may have terrorists, too. Evil multiplies to infinitude, like mirrors facing each other in hell. You were a wormhole history passed through, transformed by the memory of your victimhood. Erase the memory of Emmett's victimhood. Let's write the obituary of a life lived well and wisely, mourned by a loving wife or partner, friends, and a vast multitude.

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