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Brandon Erby


While many are familiar with the 1955 death of fourteen-year-old Emmett Till and his mother’s decision to publicly display his brutalized body, what is often neglected in scholarship on Till’s murder is his mother’s activism post-1955. My dissertation focuses on Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, and attempts to provide an in-depth rhetorical analysis of her public engagement by answering the following two questions: 1) How has Till’s death influenced American culture? 2) In what ways is Till-Mobley responsible for this influence? I rely on a range of methods and methodologies to argue that Till-Mobley’s intentional labor as a mother, activist, teacher, and dramatist is central for how we remember Emmett Till.