Saturday, September 25, 2010

Getting Away with Murder
by Chris Crowe

Subtitled The True Story of the Emmett Till Case.
Published in 2003. 128 pages (including Time Line, Bibliography, Additional Resources, and For Further Reading).

This young adult book provides a very readable and meaningful account of this lesser-known* catalyst to the Civil Rights Movement!

I particularly love the concluding words: Emmett Till's mother is quoted as saying in 1955, "The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all." The author then concludes, "It still is the business of us all."

I was lucky enough to hear the author, Chris Crowe, talk about the book this week at the first meeting of a "Teaching through Literature Discussions" class I'm taking through a neighboring school district. (A big thank you to Becky at One Literature Nut for bringing the class to my attention!)

A few of the insights I got from his presentation include the importance of understanding context in analyzing history (even if he realized that no teenager was going to sit through pages and pages about slavery and the concept of "separate but equal" before getting to the heart of Emmett Till's story) and the importance of careful documentation. I also enjoyed hearing about some of Crowe's experiences in researching the book and about what's happened with the case since his book was published, including the fact that Emmett's casket is on its way to the Smithsonian.

Crowe has also written a historical fiction novel about the Emmett Till murder called Mississippi Trial, 1955 - which he jokingly refers to the football player's trick of using the same paper for two classes - which I've added to my to-read list.

*At least to me. I'm sad to say that I don't remember ever hearing about this event until I read this book.



  1. It was great meeting you the other night. Chris's presentation (and both books) was so interesting and heartbreaking.

    I am so happy we are taking advantage of this opportunity together!

    Can't wait to see you again.

  2. You did a great job of summarizing the class! I loved the way Chris is just so natural and comfortable when he presents, especially about a difficult topic.

  3. I've not read this one, but did read Mississippi Trial. I definitely should now get the 'real' version :)