Carolyn Bryant Lied and Emmet Till was Murdered

Last fall, I sat on the front porch of what’s left of the Bryant General Store. I was there for a good long time, staring at the bare fields across Money Road and thinking about what happened here. I read the plaque and sat at the roadside thinking.

Now, this.

But as Carolyn became reflective in Timothy Tyson’s presence, wistfully volunteering, “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.” She also admitted she “felt tender sorrow,” Tyson would note, “for Mamie Till-Mobley”—Emmett Till’s mother, who died in 2003 after a lifetime spent crusading for civil rights. (She had bravely insisted that her son’s casket remain open at his funeral in order to show America what had been done to him.) “When Carolyn herself [later] lost one of her sons, she thought about the grief that Mamie must have felt and grieved all the more.” Tyson does not say whether Carolyn was expressing guilt. Indeed, he asserts that for days after the murders, and until the trial, she was kept in seclusion by her husband’s family. But that “tender sorrow” does sound, in its way, like late-blooming regret.

How Author Timothy Tyson Found the Woman at the Center of the Emmett Till Case

Open Thread: The Ultimate Longreads List of Freelance Writers

Editors and agents tell me they use Longreads to discover great reporters and writers. Let’s help make it even easier. Use this open thread to share your name, contact information, links to your writing, your specialties / interests.

What would you like to cover in 2017? What are your biggest questions when it comes to freelancing? Share your stories or ask for advice here.

I should add that there are already a number of great writer databases you should check out, notably Writers of Color, and editor/publisher sites like Who Pays Writers.

Old Dirt “In the olden…

Old Dirt

“In the olden days, they would hit a vein of clay and just dig up a big hole and keep makin’ pots with it—leaving a hole in the road. That’s why they call it a pot hole! So we gotta fill ‘em back in afterwards,” explains Josh, now ready to harvest the clay. He sticks his shovel into the ground, then stands on the metal edge like an Olympic diver, ready for take off. He pushes the steel blade into the earth and sways on the handle, cleaving into the ground. Then he lifts a chunk of pure blue clay. It’s a handsome lump that smells like mushrooms, muskrats, and wet bark. — Old Dirt, Andrew Evans, Letters from Earth

I enjoyed this love letter to North Carolina — and a guy who makes art from its soil.

For Your Consideration: Open Thread to Nominate Your Favorite Stories of 2016

Every December, Longreads publishes a monthlong celebration of the best stories of the year. (See our past Best Of collections here.) Now’s your chance to help get things started for 2016.

In the comments below, share links to your favorite stories of the year so far. This can include:

  1. Stories you read and loved.
  2. Stories you wrote, edited, or published, and want to submit for consideration.
  3. Books you loved! (Books: the original #longreads.)

The thread is now yours. See you in December!

This is a joyful read…

This is a joyful read about race, being brown in a white community, teenage hopes, oh, a bunch of things. It’s funny and painful and and self aware and utterly refreshing in a time when just such a thing is in order. And its on a personal blog. Remember personal blogs? Yeah, me too.

Other girls I desperately wanted to be: Mallory Keaton, Punky Brewster, Clarissa who told us everything, and Nancy Drew; adorable white girls with a certain kind of sass, plus – in Nancy’s case – a sky blue convertible and no real curfew. These girls represented freedom to be whoever you wanted, as long as you had your own show. I also wanted to be Shannon Whatsherface in the seventh grade: blond hair, blue eyes, good grades, sunny demeanor; a girl who went on to work with children and marry the hot guy from our high school. I was dying to be any of the girls who played the love interest of a Cory, Haim or even Feldman – didn’t matter in the end since they both became drug addicts (an ironic prophecy for my future relationships) – because of course they were my boyfriend ideals. I wanted to be Cher in Clueless, or even Tai, but not Dionne; I wanted to be Jennifer Capriati, not Venus Williams. And I cringe to admit that I wanted to be the whitest, blandest Cosby kid – yes, SONDRA, married to a black man named Elvin, who just seemed like a nerdy white guy in disguise. The rest of the Cosby kids seemed like they were actually black, and I just couldn’t see myself in them. — The Armored Coconut

Hi! Wrote a long, reported…

Hi! Wrote a long, reported profile (5000 words) of Madhur Jaffrey, who’s best known as an Indian cookbook author but was first an actress (and an extremely gifted one). Positioned this as a reclamation of the way she sees herself—an actress, not a cook—by looking at the performance that nabbed her the Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival in 1965.

Dafna Izenberg goes long on…

Dafna Izenberg goes long on the emotional roller coaster of Phil Collins fandom: