Keith Beauchamp’s extraordinary film, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till is the culmination of a 10-year investigation to uncover the details behind the nightmarish 1955 murder of Emmett Louis Till, an African-American Chicago teenager. The brutal slaying of Till in Money, Mississippi was followed by a sham trial that helped spark America’s Civil Rights Movement. For allegedly whistling at a white woman in public, Till was tortured, beaten beyond recognition, and thrown into the Tallahatchie River. Fifty years later, Beauchamp has reconstructed the case and found that responsibility for the murder extends beyond the two “good ol’ boys” who were acquitted by an all-white jury. In addition to remarkable testimony from Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley (who died in 2003), Beauchamp interviews eyewitnesses whose stories have never been told, and discovers potentially guilty parties still living and liable for prosecution. This groundbreaking film vividly recalls a nightmarish, though recent era and has already had a tangible impact: on May 10, 2004, the U.S. Justice Department reopened this infamous case as a result of Beauchamp’s revelations — a few months shy of the 50th anniversary of the murder.
Directed by Keith Beauchamp
2005, USA; 70 min.