Emmett Till. Though his murder occurred decades before, it is the name many of us heard as a cautionary tale of the endless depravity of hate. Now, Women of the Movement takes an intimate look at Mamie Till-Mobley’s fight to bring his murderers to justice. Based on the books Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement by Devery Anderson and Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime that Changed America by Chris Benson and Mamie Till. this series has made Till’s story tangible. It has centered the victims and made real the suffering and courage of a grieving mother.
Marissa Jo Cerar, a Black woman courageous in storytelling, is an Emmy- and WGA-nominated writer whose credits include The Handmaid’s Tale and 13 Reasons Why. She is the creator, showrunner, and executive producer for this moving series. Cerar has beautifully transported us into 1955 Chicago and Money, Mississippi, and does a fantastic job of laying bare the ugly, yet accepted truth of the time — a Black child’s life could be easily traded for a white woman’s “honor.” The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Cerar’s passion for this project is evident as she speaks with BGN via video about telling the story from Till-Mobley’s vantage point, her only dealbreaker, and the possibility of a second season.
Lovecraft Country and Let the World See are two examples of the resurgence of Emmett Till’s story. What inspired you to create this series?
It’s been a journey of two-and-a-half years for me with this project, and it was by accident to be really honest. I was on hiatus from The Handmaid’s Tale, and I was planning to take the summer off. I was at a general meeting at Kapital Entertainment with Aaron Kaplan, and they had this book about Emmett Till. I said I would love to develop a series but from his mother’s point of view. The story had to focus on the family and who they were before the tragedy so that we weren’t telling another story where we are the victims. In reality, Mamie’s choices made her a hero. I didn’t…