Interview with Robin Kelley: Legacies of Emmett Till
Transcript: I think there are at least two distinct legacies of Emmett Till. One, that the level of violence that was commonplace in a place like Mississippi became known to the world, and that violence generated anger and outrage -- and in some ways courage -- for those fighting in Mississippi and those willing to come South to fight that fight.
I think the second legacy of Emmett Till is that Jim Crow racism, as it used to exist from the age of slavery, could no longer exist. Now something has to change. And black people in Mississippi itself were the ones who were going to make that change. And the great thing is that the change that they made, the extension of citizenship to all people, is a change that affected all of America, not just black people, but whites, Latinos, Asian Americans. It extended democracy to the country when democracy had never been extended to everyone before.