On what will mark the 10th anniversary of the presentation of the original community apology to the Till family, we invite you to come take part in a larger act of racial healing and conversation about racial justice. Forgiveness day is about learning and forgiveness through community, conversation, and art.
On this page, you will find a lot of information on to expect that day. Treat this as a Save-The-Date. If you would like to get more information on this event, or anything else going on through the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, then please sign up for our email newsletters.
We believe that one of the best ways to have a positive conversation about some of our more challenging stories is through art. The following featured artists will be at Forgiveness day to help share their views on the Emmett Till story.
Kevin Wilson Jr. is a filmmaker, a father, and a storyteller. A student at NYU film school, he is preparing to produce "My Nephew Emmett," a short documentary that shares the story of Emmett Till.
This is not the first time Kevin has engaged with the Till story, though. In 2009 he wrote and directed a play on the subject to much acclaim.
For more information click here.
My Nephew Emmett
Kevin Wilson Jr.
Mississippi is a multimedia experience that combines poetry, drama, and photography in an attempt to impart the Mississippi experience. The below video is a performance of Mississippi at the University of Mississippi.
Maude Schuyler Clay was born in Greenwood, Mississippi. After attending the University of Mississippi and the Memphis Academy of Arts, she assisted the photographer William Eggleston. Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and The National Museum for Women in the Arts, among others.
Ann Fisher-Wirth is the author of four books of poems, most recently Dream Cabinet and Carta Marina (both from Wings Press), and coeditor with Laura-Gray Street of The Ecopoetry Anthology (Trinity UP). A fellow of the Black Earth Institute, recipient of Fulbrights to Switzerland and Sweden, she teaches at the University of Mississippi and publishes widely.
Maude Clay & Ann Fisher-Wirth
Award-winning Playwright and novelist Ifa Bayeza is a graduate of Harvard University and Senior Visiting Lecturer and Distinguished Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University in Rhode Island.
Her searing drama, The Ballad of Emmett Till was awarded a Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference fellowship and received its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in 2008, where it garnered the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Play.
Ms. Bayeza did much of her Mississippi research for the play as the inaugural writer-in-residence with the SonEdna Foundation right down the road in Charleston.
The Ballad of Emmett Till
Rico Gatson lives and works in Brooklyn. Born in Augusta, Georgia, Gatson received his BFA from Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1989, and MFA from Yale School of Art in 1991. He has exhibited in galleries, museums, and institutions throughout the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, Brooklyn Museum, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, Jewish Museum, and Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien in Vienna.
His work is in The Studio Museum in Harlem’s permanent collection, and appears in other public collections, including those of the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville, Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., Kempner Museum of Art at Washington University in St. Louis, and Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven. Gatson’s work has been included in several Studio Museum exhibitions, including Freestyle (2001), Black Black Belt.
While we are thrilled to have artist from around the country engage with Emmett's story, it is just as important for the community of Tallahatchie County to own it through Art.
Check out some amazing photo-documentaries produced by local community members. Working with Barefoot Photography we have been able to use art and story telling to help process past pains and imagine new futures for our community. A special thanks to the Institute for Museum and Library Services for making this project possible.