A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson

Title: A Wreath for Emmett Till

Author: Marilyn Nelson

Illustrator: Philippe Lardy

Publisher: Hougton Mifflin

Published Date: 2005

Emmett Till was only 14 when he was brutally hung and killed. Left in a river to bloat and fester. All because he supposedly whistled at a white man’s wife. Till, being black, was victimized during a time in the U.S. that segregation was in full force. His death was one of several that started the Civil Rights movement. Ms. Nelson captures his death and the world at that time and transforms it into a beautiful poem.

This poem is beautiful. It made me angry, sad and hurt that anyone could do this to another human being. It doesn’t matter the color, race, ethnicity, age, gender or sexual preference. For someone to coldly kill another because of hate is despicable. And for the men who killed Emmett to have gotten away with this murder is not only unjust but plain wrong. I don’t even have the words to describe how I feel about this right now. I’m just sad that it happened. For Ms. Nelson to produce so much beauty in such a horrendous act is a blessing and beauty of its own. I’m a poetry lover and never have I had a poem move me as much. I wish I could explain more about the poem, but it’s just one of those things you will have to read on your own to understand. This poem is great. Read it. It might just change you.

Happy Reading!

R

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. maryanjali
    Jul 04, 2012 @ 10:05:02

    Summary/Comments: This book reveals the story of Emmett Till an African American boy, who was brutally murdered in Alabama in the early 1950s for whistling at a white girl. This is a poem that takes you through the story as seen through the eyes of the tree, woods, flowers and the world that took him into the ground. The Poems are very deep; they progress with the last line of each previous poem before, using repititon, rhyme, meter, rhythm, metaphors, similes and symbolism in an extremely intriguing way. The illustrations capture the something as simple as a flower in a casket, yet with the reminiscent of a boy who lingers all around it. It is poetic, emotional and a little spooky all at the same time.
    Classroom Use: This would be a great book to use at any time of the year to help launch a unit on the Civil Rights movement, prejudices, stereotypes and the pain that the African American peoples of the time (and still today) still endure. Also, this would be a great book to use prior to watching the actual video of the documentary of Emmett Till, where they show the real pictures of his body.

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