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Simeon's Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett Till Hardcover – January 1, 2010
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Units on the civil rights movement would be remiss not to include this powerful firsthand account. Wright was there when his cousin Till whistled at white cashier Carolyn Bryant; he shared the same bed as Till when two white men burst into the house to drag him away; and he was witness to the decades of scrutiny the case has wrought. Wright focuses on the crime with clarity and passion. His memoir is short and focused, with just enough context about living in Jim Crow Mississippi and, later, about how the incident colored his reactions to Dr. King and Malcolm X. His ground-level insights into the character of 14-year-old Bobo (We didn’t know that Bobo’s first name was Emmett until after he was killed) are invaluable. In many ways, this is a book about the value of primary sources; Wright (along with coauthor Boyd) spends many pages sifting through erroneous stories. The 2005 exhumation, the 2005 documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, and the 2008 Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act are also given consideration. Grades 6-10. --Daniel Kraus
Fascinating. . . . Simeon Wright is just the latest in a long line of writers who find the Emmett Till story compelling, but his perspective and proximity are critical to a full understanding.” Chicago Tribune
Crystal clarity and blistering prose. . . . [A] powerful, important memoir. Simeon’s Story is a story you must read.” Savannah Morning News
Wright’s story is chilling, and his honest account will hook readers from the beginning.” School Library Journal
Simeon’s Story is one that must be heard and never forgotten. In simple, plain language, Wright describes an event that shocked the conscience of the nation and gave birth to the modern-day Civil Rights Movement in America.” John Lewis, U.S. congressman
A compelling read.” Kirkus Reviews
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Top customer reviews
Simeon Wright's book adds the missing parts. Wright was physically there in Money with his cousin as they walked into the Bryant grocery store and had contact with Carolyn Bryant. So when I picked up Wright's book and began reading, I couldn't put it down. Through his words, I could now close my eyes and be there with the two young men as events unfolded leading to the death of Emmett Till.
So many new details and keen observations kept me reading; Wright offers the kind of first-hand details that breathe life into this key modern civil rights moment, the event that sparked Rosa Parks to take her stand. After turning the last page of "Simeon's Story," I now have a much better feel of who this young man was, how he approached life, and how he got himself entangled into such a mess that ended his life. I can better visualize what took place in the grocery story and then in the early hours of Aug. 28, 1955 when Till was kidnapped from the Wright's home. I felt the some of the terror that Emmett and the Wright family must have experience that morning. And I better understand the current politics surrounding this cold case, since Wright has offered his explanation of today's politics surrounding the cold case initiative.
It's a good thing that Simeon Wright waited to write his book. Otherwise, his critical assessment might have been lost amid the more historically expansive books written by important historians, journalists and others that have helped us understand the Till story and its place in the modern civil rights movement.
Wright's book, written from his heart and coming to us so many years later, is our dessert.
Wright also sets the scene as to what life was like for blacks in Mississippi during the mid-1950s. His mother moved to Chicago immediately after the murder of Emmett Till with the remainder of the family joining her following the farcical trial. All of us will be remembered for how we treat others, and Simeon Wright relates his thankfulness to his teachers and students in his new Chicago school for their acceptance of him as he adjusted to life in an environment totally different from rural Mississippi.
This is an excellent book for young people to read regarding the Emmett Till case. It is written so young people can enjoy it, but adults can certainly learn from it as well. There are no profanities, and it is told by someone who was actually there along with Emmett Till during this time. If there is a complaint I have with the book it is that the few photographs are very small.
Yes, we have come a long way since those Ozzie and Harriet days of the 1950s, but all we have to do is turn to the national news to realize we still have a long way to go. The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you throw upon it the more it will contract.