New Book of Photographs Recalls the Trauma of American History
Looking back at a lynching that shocked America and galvanized the civil rights movement
He was familiar with the horrifying death 62 years ago of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African-American who was kidnapped by white supremacists, beaten, shot and thrown into a river weighed down with a 75-pound cotton gin fan after supposedly whistling at a white woman in Money, Mississippi. Yet knowing the details did not prepare the photographer Andrew Lichtenstein for the unsettling experience of visiting the crime scene. “Money feels like a place that hasn’t moved forward in time,” he says. The author of Marked, Unmarked, Remembered, a new book of photographs commemorating traumas in America’s past, Lichtenstein recalls Till’s murder with the image above, taken in Money, which evokes cotton’s connection to slavery and segregation. “Cotton’s a beautiful crop, the way it catches the light,” he says. “But its history is blood-soaked.”
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