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Civil Rights, Mississippi, and the Novelist's Craft

The Emmett Till Murder
Bebe Moore Campbell & Lewis Norton

Both Your Blues Ain't Like Mine (1992), by Bebe Moore Campbell and Wolf Whistle, by Lewis Norton (1993) take their inspiration from the 1955 death of Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago who was murdered for allegedly making sexual advances to a white female while visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi. After a jury acquitted two white men of the brutal slaying, one of the accused bragged of his involvement to the national media.

Bebe Moore Campbell, an African American, won a NAACP Image Award for Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, which examines the effects of her fictional version of the tragedy upon the lives of the victim's family, the murderers, and other characters over the course of thirty years.

Read an excerpt from an interview with Bebe Moore Campbell.
Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, a novel by Bebe Moore Campbell
Cover of Wolf Whistle by Lewis Nordan
Lewis Nordan, a white male attending high school in Mississippi at the time of Emmett Till's death, has placed that violent episode at the epicenter of a fantastical fable of magical realism wherein animals speak and angels roam the Delta landscape. Wolf Whistle was an American Library Association Notable Book and won the Mississippi Authors' Award for Fiction and the Southern Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.

Read excerpts from Nordan's essay "Growing Up White in the South".