Marilyn Nelson's A Wreath for Emmett Till PDF
By Marilyn Nelson
A Coretta Scott King and Printz honor booklet now in paperback. A Wreath for Emmett until eventually is "A relocating elegy," says The Bulletin.
In 1955 humans all around the usa knew that Emmett Louis until eventually was once a fourteen-year-old African American boy lynched for supposedly whistling at a white girl in Mississippi. The brutality of his homicide, the open-casket funeral held through his mom, Mamie until eventually Mobley, and the acquittal of the lads attempted for the crime drew large media consciousness. In a profound and chilling poem, award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson reminds us of the boy whose destiny helped spark the civil rights flow.
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Additional info for A Wreath for Emmett Till
But parallel realities may have terrorists, too. Evil multiplies to infinitude, like mirrors facing each other in hell. You were a wormhole history passed through, transformed by the memory of your victimhood. Erase the memory of Emmett's victimhood. Let's write the obituary of a life lived well and wisely, mourned by a loving wife or partner, friends, and a vast multitude. Remember the high purpose he pursued. Remember how he earned a nation's grief. Remember accomplishments beyond belief, honors enough to make us ooh, slack-jawed, as if we looked up at a meteor shower or were children watching a fireworks display.
What should my wreath for Emmett Till denote? First, heliotrope, for Justice shall be done. Daisies and white lilacs, for Innocence. Then mandrake: Honor (wearing a white hood, or bare-faced, laughing). For grief, more than one, for one is not enough: rue, yew, cypress. Forget-me-nots. Though if I could, I would Forget him not. Though if I could, I would forget much of that racial memory. No: I remember, like a haunted tree set off from other trees in the wildwood by one bare bough. If trees could speak, it could describe, in words beyond words, make us see the strange fruit that still ghosts its reverie, misty companion of its solitude.
The sonnet alludes to President Franklin D. " XIV. "Orators denouncing the slavery/to fear" alludes to the abolitionists (including William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Wendell Phillips, and Susan B. Anthony) of the middle nineteenth century, who risked their reputations, their safety, and their lives by speaking out against slavery. XV. This last sonnet is composed of the first lines from the preceding fourteen sonnets. Artist's Note This poem is structured much like a painting.
A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson