Delta Center Discusses Civil Rights Movement

Delta State’s Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently organized a panel discussion on the murder of Emmett Till as part of a July workshop sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The discussion was held in Tallahatchie County at the new Sumner Grill Restaurant, right across the street from the Sumner Courthouse where Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam were tried for Till’s murder in 1955.

Caption L to R: Henry Outlaw and Lee Aylward of the Delta Center, Wheeler Parker, Emmett Till’s cousin and witness to his kidnapping, Dale Killinger, FBI agent in charge of the Till investigation, Lent Rice, retired FBI, Bruce Smith, son of Robert Bruce Smith, special prosecutor in the Till murder trial, Luther Brown of the Delta Center, and Jim Powers, Chair of the Mississippi ACLU and former President of the DSU student body.

Caption L to R: Henry Outlaw and Lee Aylward of the Delta Center, Wheeler Parker, Emmett Till’s cousin and witness to his kidnapping, Dale Killinger, FBI agent in charge of the Till investigation, Lent Rice, retired FBI, Bruce Smith, son of Robert Bruce Smith, special prosecutor in the Till murder trial, Luther Brown of the Delta Center, and Jim Powers, Chair of the Mississippi ACLU and former President of the DSU student body.

The focus of the NEH workshops is on the history and culture of the Mississippi Delta. Each day, participants are guided through documentaries, information, experiences and tours of historical landmarks and cultural institutions.

Delta State alumni (’61), Chair Emeritus of the Department of Physical Sciences and Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Henry Outlaw leads the topic of the civil rights movement in Mississippi. The Emmett Till story is used as a case study for discussing oppression, revolution and reconciliation.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning works throughout the region to serve as a “Center of Excellence” at Delta State. It is an interdisciplinary program that is focused on the humanities and environmental sciences related to the Delta.

The NEH is among the nation’s largest funders of humanities programs. It promotes excellence in humanities and delivers historical lessons to Americans in an effort to serve and strengthen the nation.

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