"The Face of Emmett Till" is the gripping account of the death of
14-year-old Emmett Till and his mother's heroic crusade for justice.
Till was a Chicago teenager who, while visiting relatives in
Mississippi in August 1955, was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by
two white men. The men claimed they wanted to teach him a lesson for
"allegedly" whistling at a local white woman. The play chronicles
both the tragedy and its aftermath, including its role as the
impetus for the civil rights movement.
Emmett Till's mother, Mamie, shared the horror and brutality of
the crime with the world when she invited the media to attend her
son's open-casket funeral. Shocking pictures of his mutilated body
were first published by African-American press and later republished
by media outlets around the world. The ramifications of the crime
and subsequent trial are considered one of the darkest periods in
the civil right movement as African-Americans struggled for
The play, which debuted at Chicago's Pegasus Players Theatre, was
written by playwright David Barr III and Mamie Till-Mobley.
Kenneth James of Decatur gives a haunting performance as young
Emmett Till, and Morgan Walton-McNeal from Thornwood portrays his
mother, Mamie. Lincoln residents rounding out the cast are Karolyn
White as Chatham, Mikel Frost as Sen. James Eastland, Alex Williams
as Rayner and Cody Follis as J.W. Milam. Zach Williams of Danvers
plays Morris Dees, and McKenzie Ward of Springfield portrays Willie
Other performers are Keanon O'Neal, Katie Richter, Tim Bell,
Benisha Dorris, Tinesheia Howard, Charles Garmon, Joy Lowery, Josh
Dobkins, Cassie Ellwing, Tresa McBeath, Sean Daly, Alesha Smith,
Craig Noort, Liz Jewgieniew, Edmond Walker, Alia Lockhart, Jessica
Hunt, Elisha Simon, Courtney Jones, Euzhan Sims and John Anderson.
Chris Gray, assistant professor and chair of the fine arts
program at the college said: "This is such a riveting story. We are
thrilled to be able to bring it to the stage. Sometimes history is
ugly, but we must still examine it. The play captures the chilling
details of the crime, but it's also a story of resolve and of hope.
Those are lessons that apply to us today."
[to top of second column]
He went on to add, "The actors are able to capture those emotions
and connect with the audience. I'm so excited for local audiences to
Gray directs the play, and adjunct professor Kevin Anderson
serves as set and costume designer.
More information on the performance:
"The Face of Emmett Till" contains strong language, themes and
depicts on-stage violence. It is not recommended for young children.
Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22, 23 and 24, with a matinee
performance at 2 p.m. Oct. 25.
Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens. Tickets
may be reserved by phoning 217-732-3155, ext. 280. Any remaining
tickets will be sold at the door. Due to the limited number of
performances, advance purchase is recommended.
More info on the fine arts program:
Lincoln College provides abundant opportunities for students to
participate in plays, musical ensembles, dance performances, art
shows and literary activities. Participation in fine arts activities
and events includes the entire student body, not just those majoring
in fine arts. For more information, phone 217-732-3155, ext. 280, or
[Text from file received from