Emmett Till & the Press: The Davis Houck Papers

Emmett and Mamie Till, 1954

One of our most meaningful projects in Special Collections & Archives is the management of the Emmett Till Archives.  The Till Archives collects, preserves, and provides access to primary and secondary source material related to the life, murder, and memory of Emmett Louis Till, whose death in 1955 is significant in the history of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.  Our most comprehensive resource for researchers interested in national press coverage of the Till murder and related events is the Davis Houck Papers.

Dr. Davis Houck joined the faculty of the College of Communication & Information at Florida State University in 2000, and in 2016 was named Fannie Lou Hamer Professor of Rhetorical Studies.  Dr. Houck’s research interests include rhetorical criticism, presidential rhetoric, the Black Freedom Movement, historiography and archival research.  Over the course of his academic career, Dr. Houck has written several papers and a book on the Emmett Till case.  While researching these works, Dr. Houck amassed thousands of pages and bytes of newspaper clippings, government files, photographs, scholarly articles, monographs, and creative works related to Till.  In 2015, Dr. Houck donated these research materials to the FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives division, where they are available to FSU students, faculty, visiting scholars, and the general public alongside other resources on Emmett Till and the civil rights movement.

Mose Wright Home, circa 1955
Photograph of Mose Wright’s former home near Money, MS, and site of Emmett Till’s kidnapping.  http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_MSS_2015-007_S03_SS02_I019

Researchers can see the Davis Houck Papers by visiting the Special Collections Research Center in Strozier Library.  Some materials from the Houck Papers are available through the FSU Digital Library.  For more information on the collection, please visit the online finding aid or contact Special Collections & Archives staff at lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu or (850) 644-3271.


Published by Rory Grennan

Rory Grennan is Director of Manuscripts Collections at Florida State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives.

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