NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - New Brunswick’s Department of American Studies on Thursday will host the Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., the last living witness to the abduction of Emmett Till, for a discussion on love, forgiveness and reconciliation.
The program, focusing on the legacy of Till's murder in 1955 - which became one of the defining moments of the U.S. civil rights movement - will be held at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary's Hageman Hall at 35 Seminary Place.
Free parking is available on the New Brunswick Theological Seminary Lot located on Bishop Place.
Parker had accompanied his 14-year-old cousin from Chicago to a small town in rural Mississippi to visit relatives.
Parker was there when Till allegedly whistled at a white woman at her family's store.
Four days later, Parker witnessed Till's abduction at gunpoint at his great-uncle's home.
Fearing for his life, Parker immediately returned to Chicago, and Till’s tortured body was found in the Tallahatchie River. The shopkeeper’s husband and half-brother were acquitted of murder by an all-white jury but later admitted their guilt.
Parker will discuss the kidnapping and why Till’s story continues to resonate with the American public today.
The event will run from 7-9 p.m. and is open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the Department of History, Douglass Residential College, the Paul Robeson Cultural Center and the Program in Criminal Justice.
Video and photography are allowed and Parker will take questions from the audience.