Interview with Reverend Will Campbell
QUESTION 15
INTERVIEWER:

OK, IF YOU COULD EXPLAIN TO ORLANDO FIRST OF ALL, HOW YOU FIRST HEARD ABOUT THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL AND WHAT YOUR OWN PERSONAL REACTION WAS, WHAT THAT MEANT TO YOU.

Rev. Will D. Campbell:

Well, I heard about it on the, in the newspapers [overlap]. OK, I've got it, yes, Well, I read of the murder of a young black child really, fifteen years old, named Emmett Till in the newspapers, and of course on the radio. And I was Director of Religious Life at the time at the University of Mississippi, and I knew that this man would never, whoever had committed this, would never be convicted. And there was a long drawn out trial, and in all fairness to the judge in the case, I watched some of it in the courtroom, I think he did the best he could, but the two men who were charged with this murder were at the time heroes. Now the strange part of it is, as soon as the trial was over, and Mr. William Bradley Hewitt [sic, author of the article was William Bradford Huie] wrote a story for magazine showing the check that he had made out to them to tell the real story, where they said, yeah, we took him down there and you know, we beat him and then, then killed him and threw him in the river, Tallahatchie River, and so on. Those people were nobodies after that. They were disgraced, which is a strange conflict and dichotomy in southern society that while they were being accused of this crime, we have to rally to their defense and take up money, and hire lawyers, and all the rest. But then when it's over, look, why did you have to disgrace us like that, now get out of town, we don't really want to see you again.