Saturday, March 30, 2013

St. Louis newspaper archives reveal new information about Emmett Till murder

In his latest blog entry, Jackson Clarion-Ledger reporter Jerry Mitchell, whose dogged reporting helped reopen many long-closed civil rights murders and bring the killers to justice, writes about how long-missing files from a St. Louis African-American newspaper have added new information to the Emmett Till murder case:

(A)nother African-American newspaper, The St. Louis Argus, had covered the trial.
He ordered a copy of the Argus microfilm from 1955 — only to find a curious gap where the trial took place. ”Every time I interlibrary loaned the Argus, same gap,” he said. “Every time.”
Finally, an undergraduate student at Florida State, Jessica Primiani, found the missing issues at the State Historical Society of Missouri.
And what a find it was — the Argus’ publisher attended the trial along with a reporter and photographer.
“The Argus was the best represented among a very small contingent of the black press,” Houck said. ”It’s clear in examining the documents that the black community of St. Louis had a special investment in the murder of Emmett Till and the search for justice in the case.”
There are never-before-seen photographs, including a few of Mississippi NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers, who investigated Till’s killing.
Devery Anderson, who is working on a book titled, The Boy Who Never Died: The Saga of the Emmett Till Murder, said the trial coverage helped to answer questions, such as what the African-American business district in this area looked like.