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Northwestern professor, family of Emmett Till to comment on final investigative report

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A news conference with Northwestern University professor Christopher Benson and members of the family of Emmett Till will be held at 4 p.m., today, Dec. 6 to address the final investigative report in the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Till in Mississippi.

For the past four years, Benson, associate professor in the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, has worked with the Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr. on research into the Till murder, tracking the latest phase of the F.B.I. investigation based on new information evaluated by the Bureau.

The final investigative report by the U.S. Department of Justice, the F.B.I. and the district attorney for the Fourth Circuit Court District of Mississippi is expected today.

WHAT:    Press conference with family of Emmett Till and Northwestern professor
WHEN:    4 p.m., Monday, Dec. 6
WHERE: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, 303 East Wacker Drive, Suite 1600, Chicago

Media wishing to attend in person must RSVP to Erin Karter at or 312-273-0277. Media interested in attending remotely via Zoom should also contact Karter.  

Rev. Parker, Till’s cousin and best friend, was in the Mississippi Delta house when Till was kidnapped in the middle of the night.  Rev. Parker, pastor of the Argo Temple Church of God in Christ in Summit, Illinois, a church Till’s grandmother, Alma Carthan Spearman, helped to build, has cooperated in the government investigation as a survivor, victim and witness.

Other Till family members expected to participate in the Monday news conference will be Thelma Wright Edwards, a cousin of Till and the sister of the late Simeon Wright, who was in the bedroom with Till the night of the abduction; Ollie Gordon, Till’s cousin and a goddaughter of Till-Mobley; Bertha Thomas, a Till cousin, who also served as an administrative assistant and traveling companion of Till-Mobley; Dr. Marvel Parker, a member of the Summit board of trustees, executive director of the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Institute and spouse of Rev. Parker; and Annie Wright, spouse of Simeon Wright.

Benson also is co-author with the late Mamie Till-Mobley of the book “Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America.”

Emmett Till’s mother is credited as helping to galvanize the modern civil rights movement for her decision to “let the world see” the mutilated remains of her son in Jet magazine and in an open-casket funeral when they returned to Chicago.

To preserve the memory and historical significance of the life and death of Till and the legacy of his mother, Benson and members of the Till family recently announced the creation of the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Institute.