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Traveling exhibit adds to Emmett Till Interpretive Center

This March, national media gathered in small-town Sumner, Miss. to document the opening of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.

The museum opened nearly six decades after the brutal slaying of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy visiting the Delta who was murdered after being accused of whistling at a white woman in Money, Miss.

In Sumner, two white men were acquitted of his murder, which some credit with helping spark the U.S. civil rights movement.

The museum’s exhibits cover the 1955 murder and crucial moments in the trial, which also attracted news media at the time.

Delta State University and the University Archives & Museum are doing their part to help recognize one of Mississippi’s most significant cases by collaborating with the Interpretive Center. University archivist Emily Jones has partnered with the center’s director, Patrick Weems, to share the university’s Emmett Till Traveling Exhibit.

The late Dr. Henry Outlaw, former employee with Delta State’s Delta Center for Culture and Learning, obtained grant support through the Mississippi Humanities Council to collect a series of oral histories in 2005, 50 years after murder. In the process, he set in motion a series of events that brought Till and his story back to the centerstage for a new generation to discover.

In 2007, Jones used the interviews and documents uncovered through Outlaw’s research to create the traveling exhibit, which debuted in Tupelo, Miss. The exhibit was also funded by the Mississippi Humanities Council. Since 2007, the exhibit has visited countless cities and towns across the nation and been viewed by thousands of school children and community members. 

“We were thrilled to work with the Patrick Weems of the center to create a brand new introductory video element to complement the permanent exhibit the enter now displays,” said Jones. “The Archives & Museum received a grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, which allowed us to work with Laeitta Wade, a student in the Delta Music Institute program, to create an entirely new and complimentary video component for the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.

“Since its first travels in 2007, the Emmett Till Traveling Exhibit has been all over the United States providing a platform for discussion, introspection and understanding of what has been referred to by historians as the moment the civil rights movement began in 1955.”

To schedule the exhibit in your town, contact Jones at or 662-846-4780. For more information on the exhibit, visit