StoryCorps project preserves memories of black history - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

StoryCorps project preserves memories of black history

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - An ambitious oral-history project is currently documenting the stories of black Americans, including chilling memories of the unsolved 1955 murder of a black teenager.

This month, 68-year-old Wheeler Parker recounted the night his cousin, Emmett Till, was dragged from his home after being accused of whistling at a white woman.

The boy's body was found a few days later in the Tallahatchie River.

Parker, who now lives outside Chicago, was in Memphis recording his story for StoryCorps Griot. The project directors hope to record interviews with 1,800 black Americans that will then be available for study.

Till's death helped focus national attention on the plight of blacks in Mississippi and elsewhere in the South. However, those responsible for the 14-year-old's death were never brought to justice.

While the group plans to record everyday stories, they also hope to get interviews with historical figures like Parker.

In Memphis, they plan to interview other veterans of the civil-rights movement, including Johnnie Turner, Minerva Johnican, Maxine Smith and Russell Sugarmon.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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