Individual Author Record
Name: Christopher BensonPen Name: None Genre: Non-Fiction Born: Sites:
Illinois ConnectionMr. Benson is an Associate Professor of African-American Studies at the University of Illinois. He co-authored with Mamie Till-Mobely her autobiographical account of the murder of her son, Emmett Till.
Biographical and Professional Information
Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America, One World/Ballantine, 2003
Titles At Your Library
Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America
ISBN: 0812970470 One World. 2004 The mother of Emmett Till recounts the story of her life, her son’s tragic death, and the dawn of the civil rights movement—with a foreword by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
In August 1955, a fourteen-year-old African American, Emmett Till, was visiting family in Mississippi when he was kidnapped from his bed in the middle of the night by two white men and brutally murdered. His crime: allegedly whistling at a white woman in a convenience store. The killers were eventually acquitted.
What followed altered the course of this country’s history—and it was all set in motion by the sheer will, determination, and courage of Mamie Till-Mobley, whose actions galvanized the civil rights movement, leaving an indelible mark on our racial consciousness. Death of Innocence is an essential document in the annals of American civil rights history, and a painful yet beautiful account of a mother’s ability to transform tragedy into boundless courage and hope.
Praise for Death of Innocence
“A testament to the power of the indestructible human spirit [that] speaks as eloquently as the diary of Anne Frank.”—The Washington Post Book World
“With this important book, [Mamie Till-Mobley] has helped ensure that the story of her son (and her own story) will not soon be forgotten. . . . A riveting account of a tragedy that upended her life and ultimately the Jim Crow system.”—Chicago Tribune
“The book will . . . inform or remind people of what a courageous figure for justice [Mamie Till-Mobley] was and how important she and her son were to setting the stage for the modern-day civil rights movement.”—The Detroit News
“Poignant . . . In his mother’s descriptions, Emmett becomes more than an icon he becomes a living, breathing youngster—any mother’s child.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Powerful . . . [Mamie Till-Mobley’s] courage transformed her loss into a moral compass for a nation.”—Black Issues Book Review
Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Special Recognition •BlackBoard Nonfiction Book of the Year