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Saturday Movie Review: Women Of The Movement

Women Of The Movement is a six part miniseries that follows the 1955 murder of Emmett Till and his mother Mamie’s fight to bring justice to his name. Emmett Till was a fourteen year old Black teenager from Chicago who was visiting family in Mississippi and was take one summer night never to be seen alive again. The reason he was taken was due to a believed altercation with a local white woman at a store. When his body was discovered in a river, it was unrecognizable in some parts due to the swelling and marks on the body. Emmett’s mother Mamie Till knew deep in her soul that this was her son. She was so heartbroken and disgusted by what had been done to him, she declared that there would be a public wake with an open casket so that everyone could see what exactly what had been done to her little boy. And this one choice helped opened societies eyes to the real brutality that was going on behind the white mans doors in the south.

Black brutality was not an unknown subject during this time in history. Segregation was very prevalent, especially in the South, and the South had its own world of beliefs and customs. And if one Southern white man was accused to a crime against a Black individual, it wasn’t long until the entire town had his back. The fact that the two men primarily responsible for Emmett’s beating and death were even put on trial was a miracle. Of course there was alot of external pressure coming from the NAACP and the rest of the nation. It was just a mixed bag of pressure – some wanted justice – while others wanted to prove these two men innocent. Tensions were high and it was interesting for me to the representations of Emmett’s family and the organization that supported them. Especially since when I was younger I was not aware of Emmett’s case.

I seriously do not have a solid memory in regards to learning about this case and how it impacted history when I was younger. Possibly in AP US History and Government but it hasn’t stuck out to me at this point. If it was just a simple mention, it really wasn’t enough to stay with me. I grew up in a small city that occasionally forgets that it is part of the North and had nothing to do with the confederacy. Well actually that is probably a lie considering I have heard of KKK meetings in the past, and well the population is predominately white. It is starting to change a little but the small town values – good and bad – are hanging on strong.

I’m honestly disappointed that I didn’t learn about Emmett Till until I was older. Not to say that my young brain would have fully understand it but, it still would have opened it up a little. If I had been shown the actual pictures of Emmett in his casket, it would have been something concrete to understand. It would have done exactly what Mamie wanted – it would have opened my eyes to the brutality. Mamie was a mother first and foremost and she wanted there to be consequences for what happened to her boy. She also wanted this to be something that society would not be able to ignore. And ultimately that is exactly what happened.

This mini series is another way in which it will be hard to ignore this tragic story. Using plenty of research, it presents a picture of what happened prior to Emmett going to Mississippi and what may have happened on August 28, 1955. Unfortunately, due to the bias and misinformation, the full story will never be out there for the public. I felt that the mini series did a wonderful job presenting the facts that they do have as accurately as possible. The performers did such a good job. I felt all the emotions. The mini series is rated MA and each episode comes with a trigger warning with a phone number to call if needed for support. I am glad they did this as some of the language used and morals of this time period can be triggering for some. Especially when we are still seeing or hearing it in present.

Admittedly, I am a white female watching Women of the Movement and I acknowledge that while I felt the emotions in this mini series, it may not have the same impact on me as someone who is of colored and/or minority status. Or who lived through this period in our history. I am in no way trying to take away that experience. In fact, I encourage it. The lynching of Emmett Till is part of our American history, and as a society we need be educated about the intimate details of what actually happened. We need to be able to empathize with the older generation who were there to experience life during this time. We need to understand the impact which Mamie’s decision to show her boys body had and still has as we grapple with racial tensions and societal pressures. Yes, we have moved forward since this tragedy but, honestly we have a long way to go.

Black lives matter.

Rating: 5 Stars

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