‘Mormon Land’: LDS writer discusses his landmark book on Emmett Till and his faith’s racial history

Devery Anderson’s landmark biography is brought to TV in new “Women of the Movement” miniseries.

(Robert A. Davis/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, File) This May 4, 2005, photo shows Emmett Till's photo on his grave marker in Alsip, Ill. Utah Latter-day Saint Devery Anderson wrote a groundbreaking biography of Till, whose killing in 1955 helped spur the civil rights movement.

For more than a dozen years, Devery Anderson, a white Latter-day Saint studying history at the University of Utah, was obsessed with the 1955 killing of a 14-year-old Black youth, Emmett Till.

Anderson’s quest for details culminated in 2015, with publication of his book-length exploration, “Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement.”

Now, nearly seven years later, Anderson’s book is the basis of a new miniseries, titled “Women of the Movement,” airing this month on ABC.

(Courtesy Amanda Sharise Anderson) Devery Anderson, author of "Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement."

Anderson, who consulted on the show, is deeply aware of his own faith’s past involvement in a racist policy denying Black males ordination to the priesthood and Black females access to temple ceremonies. That practice ended in 1978, but racism in the church remains a problem to this day.

On this week’s podcast, Anderson talks about his groundbreaking work on the Till biography and his church’s racial history.

Listen here:

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