Mamie Till-Mobley's life and advocacy after son Emmett's murder chronicled in new podcast

Reclaimed: The Story of Mamie Till-Mobley details the civil rights icon's life.

June 1, 2022, 8:56 PM

The first episode of new ABC News podcast "Reclaimed: The Story of Mamie Till-Mobley" premiered Wednesday, June 1, and is hosted by historian and ABC News contributor Leah Wright-Rigueur.

PHOTO: Photo illustration of Mamie Till-Mobley
Photo Illustration by ABC News | Gado via Getty Images

The three-part series forms a powerful narrative about the life of teacher and activist Mamie Till-Mobley, whose son Emmett Till was only 14 years old when he was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by a group of men in 1955. He had been visiting relatives in Mississippi and was accused of wolf whistling and offending a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, now known as Carolyn Bryant Donham.

Till-Mobley made the difficult decision to leave Till's unrecognizable remains untouched and share the haunting image of his brutalized body at his open-casket funeral.

“Let the people see what I have seen. I want the world to see what is going on in Mississippi, in this great ole United States of America," she said to the undertaker.

Photographs of Till were published in Jet magazine, exposing the violence of the Jim Crow South that shocked the world and ignited the civil rights movement.

PHOTO: Mamie Bradley, mother of lynched teenager Emmett Till, cries as she recounts her son's death, in Washington D.C., Oct. 22, 1955.
Mamie Bradley, mother of lynched teenager Emmett Till, cries as she recounts her son's death, in Washington D.C., Oct. 22, 1955.
Gado via Getty Images

Through first-person narratives from Till-Mobley's family members — and her own words — the series explores who she was before the death of her son, and who she would ultimately become in the aftermath of the injustice her son faced. The series also features an interview with former first lady Michelle Obama, who describes the political climate of 1950s in Chicago- the nearby city where Till was raised.

While she is remembered by many as the woman who exposed the cruelty of racism in Mississippi in the 1950s, others like her cousin Ollie Gordon got to see a different side of the civil rights advocate.

“Maybe six months, a year before she passed away, she looked at me one day and she said, 'Ollie, I wish you could see me through the eyes of other people and see me the way they saw,' because I think she realized that to me, she was just Mamie. She was my Mamie, she was my keeper,” Gordon said, reflecting on Till-Mobley’s legacy.

“I didn't see her as that great activist. I didn't see her through the eyes of other people until she passed. And then it clicked when I had to take the task of trying to make sure that she was given a proper service. And when the world started calling and the president started calling."

Listen and follow "Reclaimed: The Story of Mamie Till-Mobley" — a companion podcast to “Let the World See,” streaming now on Hulu — on major listening platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, and the ABC News app.