Media contact: Cynthia Medina, [email protected], 848-445-1940

Rutgers to Host Last Witness to Emmett Till Abduction

Till’s cousin to discuss his kidnapping, why Till’s story still resonates today

Newswise — WHAT: Rutgers–New Brunswick’s Department of American Studies on Thursday, Feb. 20, will host the Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., the last living witness to the abduction of Emmett Till, for a discussion on Love, Forgiveness and Reconciliation.

In 1955, Parker, who was 16, accompanied Till, his 14-year-old cousin, from Chicago to a small town in rural Mississippi to visit relatives. They were together when Till allegedly whistled at a white woman at her family’s store. Four days later, Parker witnessed Till’s abduction at gunpoint at his great-uncle’s home. Fearing for his life, Parker immediately returned to Chicago, and Till’s tortured body was found in the Tallahatchie River. The shopkeeper’s husband and half-brother were acquitted of murder by an all-white jury but later admitted their guilt.

Parker will discuss the kidnapping, why Till’s story, which became a rallying point for the civil rights movement, continues to resonate with the American public today.

The event, free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Department of History, Douglass Residential College, the Paul Robeson Cultural Center and the  Program in Criminal Justice.

Video and photography are allowed. Parker will take questions from the audience but is not available for media interviews.  Professor Christine Zemla, who created the Rutgers course “Remembering Emmett Till” and arranged for Parker’s talk, is available for interviews.

WHEN:  7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20

WHERE: New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Hageman Hall at 35 Seminary Place, New Brunswick.

PARKING: Free parking is available on the New Brunswick Theological Seminary Lot located on Bishop Pl




Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University–New Brunswick has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live and taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Cynthia Medina [email protected]

ABOUT RUTGERS—NEW BRUNSWICK: Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers, the state’s flagship university, is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It is home to internationally acclaimed faculty and has 12 degree-granting schools and a Division I Athletics program. It is the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse university. Through its community of teachers, scholars, artists, scientists, and healers, Rutgers is equipped as never before to transform lives. 


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