This week, Reverend Wheeler Parker, Jr.—Emmett Till’s cousin, best friend, and the last surviving witness of the night Till was lynched—discusses his book A Few Days Full of Trouble with co-author Christopher Benson.
The following conversation originally took place March 16th, 2023 and was recorded live at the American Writers Museum.
More about A Few Days Full of Trouble:
The last surviving witness to the lynching of Emmett Till tells his story, with poignant recollections of Emmett as a boy, critical insights into the recent investigation, and powerful lessons for racial reckoning, both then and now.
In 1955, Emmett Till was lynched when he was fourteen years old. That remains an undisputed fact of the case that ignited a flame within the Civil Rights Movement that has yet to be extinguished. Yet the rest of the details surrounding the event remain distorted by time and too many tellings. What does justice mean in the resolution of a cold case spanning nearly seven decades? In A Few Days Full of Trouble, this question drives a new perspective on the story of Emmett Till, relayed by his cousin and best friend—the Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr., a survivor of the night of terror when young Emmett was taken from his family’s rural Mississippi Delta home in the dead of night.
In a hypnotic interplay between uncovered facts and vivid recall, Rev. Parker offers an emotional and suspenseful page-turner, set against a backdrop of reporting errors and manipulations, racial reckoning, and political pushback—and he does so accompanied by never-before-seen findings in the investigation, the soft resurrection of memory, and the battle-tested courage of faith. A Few Days Full of Trouble is a powerful work of truth-telling, a gift to readers looking to reconcile the weight of the past with a hope for the future.