Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Mamie Till-Mobley  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult;

Born: 1921 in Hazlehurst, Mississippi

Died: 2003 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Mamie Till-Mobley on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Till-Mobley's family moved to Argo, Illinois in 1924 when she was two years old and lived there for most of her life. She was the first black student to make the "A" Honor roll and only the fourth black student to graduate from the predominantly white Argo Community High School. She graduated from Chicago Teachers College in 1956 and received an Masters in Administration from Loyola in 1976.

Biographical and Professional Information

Mamie Till-Mobley was the mother of Emmett Till who was murdered in Money, Mississippi in 1955 when visiting relatives for the summer. His murder and subsequent funeral was one of the catalysts for the civil rights movement. Her autobiography, ''The Death of Innocence'', was written with Christopher Benson and published the same year she passed away.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America
ISBN: 0812970470

One World. 2004

The mother of Emmett Till recounts the story of her life, her son’s tragic death, and the dawn of the civil rights movement—with a foreword by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

In August 1955, a fourteen-year-old African American, Emmett Till, was visiting family in Mississippi when he was kidnapped from his bed in the middle of the night by two white men and brutally murdered. His crime: allegedly whistling at a white woman in a convenience store. The killers were eventually acquitted.

What followed altered the course of this country’s history—and it was all set in motion by the sheer will, determination, and courage of Mamie Till-Mobley, whose actions galvanized the civil rights movement, leaving an indelible mark on our racial consciousness. Death of Innocence is an essential document in the annals of American civil rights history, and a painful yet beautiful account of a mother’s ability to transform tragedy into boundless courage and hope.

Praise for Death of Innocence

“A testament to the power of the indestructible human spirit [that] speaks as eloquently as the diary of Anne Frank.”The Washington Post Book World

“With this important book, [Mamie Till-Mobley] has helped ensure that the story of her son (and her own story) will not soon be forgotten. . . . A riveting account of a tragedy that upended her life and ultimately the Jim Crow system.”Chicago Tribune

“The book will . . . inform or remind people of what a courageous figure for justice [Mamie Till-Mobley] was and how important she and her son were to setting the stage for the modern-day civil rights movement.”The Detroit News

“Poignant . . . In his mother’s descriptions, Emmett becomes more than an icon he becomes a living, breathing youngster—any mother’s child.”Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Powerful . . . [Mamie Till-Mobley’s] courage transformed her loss into a moral compass for a nation.”Black Issues Book Review

Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Special Recognition • BlackBoard Nonfiction Book of the Year