late film critic Roger Ebert’s wife Chaz Ebert will develop a feature film on Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till, and how the crime that was his death led to action by her, that helped galvanize the civil rights movement.
Announced at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday, to be made in partnership
with Shatterglass Films, the film will be based on the book, “Death of
Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America,” which was co-written
by Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley (who passed away in 2003), and journalist
Here’s a synopsis: "There are many heroes of the civil rights movement – men and women we can look to for inspiration. Each has a unique story, a path that led to a role as leader or activist. ‘Death of Innocence’ is the heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring story of one such hero: Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till. Mamie Carthan was an ordinary African American woman growing up in 1930s Chicago, living under the strong, steady influence of her mother’s care. She fell in love with and married Louis Till, and while the marriage didn’t last, they did have a beautiful baby boy, Emmett. In August 1955, Emmett was visiting family in Mississippi when he was kidnapped from his bed in the middle of the night by two white men and brutally murdered. His crime: allegedly whistling at a white woman in a convenience store. His mother began her career of activism when she insisted on an open-casket viewing of her son’s gruesomely disfigured body. More than a hundred thousand people attended the service. The trial of J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant, accused of kidnapping and murdering Emmett (the two were eventually acquitted of the crime), was considered the first full-scale media event of the civil rights movement. What followed altered the course of this country’s history, and it was all set in motion by the sheer will, determination, and courage of Mamie Till-Mobley – a woman who would pull herself back from the brink of suicide to become a teacher and inspire hundreds of black children throughout the country. ‘Death of Innocence’ is an essential document in the annals of American civil rights history, and a painful yet beautiful account of a mother’s ability to transform tragedy into boundless courage and hope."
Possibly inspired by the success of “Selma,” Ms.
Ebert said yesterday that she wanted to make this film because, “the full Emmett Till
story needs to be told now and told well as a narrative for our times, given
all that is happening on American streets today…”
will be the exec producer of the film, along with Nate Kohn and Christopher
no director yet attached to the project, shooting is scheduled to start next
year in the Mississippi Delta area, and Illinois.