MURDER IN THE DELTA: THE EMMETT TILL STORY
Michael Joseph Miller
MJM Publishing, LLC (2016)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (6/19)
“Murder In The Delta” by Michael Joseph Miller is the one of the most well researched, well-written accounts I have read of the torture and murder of a young black man Emmett Till. I believe it is a must-read book, containing a wealth of knowledge not only about the murder but about the lives of people who live in the Delta. Miller not only went to the places he wrote about but interviewed family and friends and put himself in the life of Till.
Each time I read about the horrendous murder of Till, I shake my head in disgust and heartbreak. Yes, I get it was the era of segregation and blacks were treated as less than human. What I have difficulty with is how someone can justify this outrageous behavior, and a witness stayed silent for 60 years about lying about events that occurred. How can one live with that?
Miller does an excellent job of putting readers in the story with his powerful writing, which gives one a feel of the people, their thoughts, and the times in which they lived. In comparison to other books I have read, the author brings up points I have not considered. He writes with strength and passion as he recounts the life of Emmett Till, his torture and death, and the societal reaction both locally and nationally, as well as the political consequence.
When Emmett’s body is found and unrecognizable except by his mother, Sheriff Strider relates “We don’t believe the body found in the Tallahatchie River was that of Emmett Till.” Somehow that does not surprise me given that Bryan and Milam the devils who commit this crime are placed in jail under assumed names and a tried by an all-white male jury.
The story flows smoothly while describing the life of Emmett before the incident that led to his murder, the murder itself, the trial and the aftermath of the trial. I will say the strength of Mamie (Till) Bradley shows when she states, “Open it up! Let the people see what they did to my son,” made me proud yet saddened. So many of the slaves knew what was happening in the shed when Emmett was brutally tortured, yet understandably due to the fear of their own safety and that of their families, they remain quiet.
This story will never leave you once you read about it. His story will make you cry and make you angry to the point that you can feel your blood boil. I highly recommend “Murder In The Delta,” by Michael Joseph Miller for everyone, teens included, who would like to know the truth versus what some will have us believe.