Hi. We are glad you are here. Have a seat, make a cup of tea, and get cozy as you grab your book. Thanks for joining us.
If you haven't learned the full and complete story of Emmett Till, it is important to start here. It is highly likely that his name was a mere mention in a textbook, and not how his death was a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights era. His legacy is not far from our own years, and the years of the generation of our parents.
As you embark on reading this novel with us, take some time to learn about this ghost boy and how Emmett will show up in and shape the story. If you have more time, listen to this interview by Jewell Parker Rhodes about her thoughts behind this book.
It is important to hold the depth of complexity of this narrative as you read, and the depth of your students. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's reminder to heed the warning of a single story rings true, even as you attempt to make connections over history and location.
So, I “bear witness,” using narrative to testify how sustaining compassion, empathy, integrity, and human commitment can mitigate and undo injustice, alienation, and sadness.
“Bearing witness” is empowering because it embraces self-knowledge and self-love. --Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes
There is much that Dr. Rhodes writes about that rings true to this moment in time, and we all are witnessing it; we encourage you to begin by watching this video, journal and reflect on the following question: how and where have you borne witness in your own life?
"When we choose to acknowledge someone else's lived and heavy moments, we hold a powerful space for them to truly feel seen...we all have the presence of mind to become someone else's witness." - Fernando Pérez
PS. Make sure you've signed up for the Ethnic Studies session--it's a great opportunity to dive deeper!