We didn’t start a movement. We started a network.
Patrisse Khan-Cullors

Dear Patrisse and other compatriots:

I work as a historian at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke in addition to my full time labors for Rev. Dr. William Barber at the NC NAACP and the Moral Monday movement. I am deeply grateful for your building Black Lives matter. I want to send you The Blood of Emmett Till, in acknowledgement and gratitude for your work and that of your generation of movement activists. All I need is a mailing address, if you are interested in getting a copy, of course. If you don’t have time to mess with a book, I understand. Just send it to Vanessa Claire Soleil at timtysonassistant@gmail.com and we’ll send you one, at least until we run out of free copies.

Simon & Schuster releases the book on January 31 and is letting me give them some names and addresses of people to whom I would like to send early copies. The Blood of Emmett Till is a history of that horrific and transformative event but also a meditation on how it still speaks to us today. Images of hundreds and hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists chanting “Michael Brown, Emmett Till / How many black kids will you kill?” in front of the White House attest to that. There are also powerful parallels in that Emmett Till’s lynching launched a huge national protest movement that sparked the civil rights movement; likewise, the murders of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and so many others inspired a national Black Lives Matter movement and many other efforts today. I wrote this book in large measure for the young people powering the movement today and want to share it widely with them. If you know anyone else who might wish to have a copy, please pass their contact information along to me and Vanessa Claire Soleil, my assistant, who keeps the wheels turning at timtysonassistant@gmail.com and I will see that they get one. The free book train leaves any minute now, unfortunately, and I am not sure how many names I can get away with sending them, so it’s first come, first served. Regardless, thank you so much for all that you are doing for this country and the world.

With every good wish,



P.S. These are some of my earlier books, Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power and also Blood Done Sign My Name. They will give you some sense of what I am trying to do as a historian, in addition to my labors as an activist in North Carolina.


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