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.
The Florida State University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives Division and Professor Davis W. Houck are delighted to announce the establishment of what will become the foremost research collection on the life and death of Emmett Till, an African-American teenager whose murder in Mississippi in 1955 sparked protest in the South.
Till’s death helped galvanize the civil rights movement in America, and Friday, August 28, 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of his murder. Till, 14, was kidnapped, beaten and shot after he allegedly flirted with a white woman.
We are truly humbled and honored to be working with scholars and researchers such as Davis Houck, Devery Anderson, and Keith Beauchamp are donating their research materials to FSU and are willing to share their important work with generations to come.
“We’re very excited for this project because there is just simply nothing like it,” said Houck, a faculty member in the College of Communication and Information who authored Emmett Till and the Mississippi Press. “We’ve spent 20 years accumulating this material, most of which involved travel to Mississippi and archives around the South. It’s long past due that we had a ‘one-stop-archive’ for all things Emmett Till, and with this collection, we’ll finally have that.”
The collection will feature newspaper coverage from the Till murder trial and court proceedings by domestic and international press, and materials from FBI investigations, court records and interview transcripts.
Author Devery Anderson will contribute a comprehensive collection of newspaper articles, genealogical work, interview transcriptions and obscure magazine articles used to write his recently released book, Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement. Anderson’s research not only tells the story of the Till case as it unfolded in 1955, but follows the case to the present day, incorporating the FBI’s investigation and source materials, including a complete trial transcript.
Interviews and oral histories gathered by filmmaker Keith Beauchamp for his Emmy-nominated documentary, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, will also comprise part of the archive. Beauchamp’s research was pivotal in convincing the FBI to re-open the case in 2004 — an investigation that resulted in more than 8,000 pages of important material.
These materials from some of the nation’s foremost Emmett Till researchers will be a great addition to our archives and an outstanding resource for students, researchers and civil rights historians worldwide.