Emmett Till: A Series of Four Lessons

US History


This unit is a series of four complementary activities that accompany the documentary film The Murder of Emmett Till. They provide a vehicle for discussing this powerful film while also establishing important historical context to better understand its place within American history and for our understanding of the fragility of democracy. Ideally, all lessons should be used, but they can also can be used on their own.


Lesson 1 of 4
Race in US History

Confronting the Murder

Students explore their personal reactions, as well as contemporary responses, to the brutal murder of a fourteen-year old African American boy in 1955.

Lesson 2 of 4
Race in US History

Examining the Choices People Made

Students analyze the choices made by individuals in the film The Murder of Emmett Till after building an understanding of the social context of the South in the 1950s.

Lesson 3 of 4
Race in US History

Connecting the History of Lynching to The Murder

Students analyze the film The Murder of Emmett Till within a historical context of lynching and the early struggles against Jim Crow and racism.

Lesson 4 of 4
Race in US History

Choosing to Remember

Students explore the meaning of the Emmett Till case for the modern civil rights movement and its legacy today for both Americans and the rest of the world.

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