What’s the Story – of Emmett Till?

What’s the Story – of Emmett Till?

Reading this blog sometimes, it may come across as if Loyola is just constantly hosting events about sad things in the world – I mean, I went to the Kristallnacht memorial, the session about the war in Yemen, and last week I went to an event called “Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till.” Of course it isn’t, it’s hosting events that increase awareness of the injustices of the world, and memorials so that we don’t forget, as a collective. Among other events.

If you haven’t heard of the story of Emmett Till, I really recommend looking it up. I can’t tell it all in this blog, but … It’s good to know it. When I was there, an older gentleman I met – the spouse of a Loyola professor, who was at the basketball game going on while he was there at the talk – asked me why I was there.

“Well,” I replied, a little bewildered, “Academic interest.” I am a history major, after all. But as we got to talking more – about the topic, about Loyola life, even so far as to discover he was also a John Felice Rome Center alumnus and he was going to visit his son in China in the summer – I realized that I was also there out of a keen sense of I Should Know More. Just because something didn’t happen in my lifetime, like Trayvon Martin, like the events of Ferguson, and so on and so on, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be educated about it, shouldn’t be seeing the repercussions and understanding how it has affected us to this day.

That’s.. definitely my Jesuit education talking, but it’s right. The Story of Emmett Till event was hosted by the Loyola Library and presented by Elliott J. Gorn, who has published a book of the same title. He told us the story, as promised, and answered lots of questions that the very, very full house wanted to ask.

It helped, I’m sure, that there were refreshments served, and one professor with her entire class showed up. But there were people of all ages – from students to Loyola alumni to interested faculty and Rogers Park community members, all there to learn a little more from an expert on the Emmett Till story.

As long as I am able, I want to keep taking these opportunities to educate myself. So maybe I don’t listen to literally everyone’s advice about going to a professor’s office hours (I know, I know.) But Loyola presents so many opportunities to learn and grow that I can hardly keep up with them all!



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