This is a companion guide for the documentary The American Experience: The Murder of Emmett Till Documentary (PBS) that is available on Youtube.
This packet has active viewing questions that challenge the students to listen for the key details in Emmett Till's story. After viewing, the students will respond with a creative, written response to one of the following questions:
1)You are a citizen of the town of Money, and you are writing to the local newspaper about your reactions to Emmett Till’s murder and trial. Express your views on whether or not you think justice was served (thinking back on our discussions of fairness and the law). What do you think about what happened to Till? What should be done in the town of Money and the country to stop this type of race-related violence from happening again?
2) Write a response to Emmett Till’s murder, funeral, and trial from the perspective of a family member or friend of Till. How do you feel? What are you going to do in response to his death? What are your thoughts on how his killers were treated? What do you think needs to be done in Money and the rest of the country to ensure that this doesn’t happen again?
3)Respond from your own perspective to express how you feel about hearing Emmett’s story. What did you learn and how did it make you feel? Connect Emmett’s story to your own experiences or other real world examples that have been in the news recently (Ex. Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, ect…)
This activity can be used in conjunction with a To Kill a Mockingbird Novel Study (which is what I used it for in my classroom), or it could be used as an activity in a history/social studies class discussing civil rights and/or race relations in the United States.