Chris Crowe an Author and Professor from Brigham Young University took time to speak to the Cornerstone Senior class at Landmark High School on November 16, 2009. His presentation was on a novel he wrote titled “Mississippi Trial 1955,” A book about a 14 year old Negro boy that was kidnapped and brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955.
Crowe talked to the class of 16 seniors about segregation and how things were in Mississippi during 1955. While he was giving his presentation he was cut off by the schools P.A. as students were asked to stand for the National Anthem and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
“Liberty and Justice for all,” Crowe repeated after the pledge, “Isn’t that interesting?” Crowe Commented stressing “Liberty and Justice for all.”
The students were very respectful as they sat in the “Dragons Lair,” a room surround by the history of Landmark High School. The students sat around a table and listened intently to Crowes stories. He told about how, while writing his book on Mildred D Taylor she mentioned Emmett Till during one of their interviews. He then researched the story of Emmett and discovered a very interesting story.
“Mississippi Trial 1955” is a fictional story based on the true events of the Emmett Till case. Crowe uses real life experiences from a trip he took to Greenville, Mississippi in August 1998. Exactly 53 years after the murder. Crowe turns the Bed and Breakfast he stayed at into the house of the main character, Hiram Hillburn. He also uses names of people he knows and names from a cemetery in town. All the facts about the Emmett Till case however, are real.
Crowe told the students, about the process of being a writer and publishing a book. He has his editor, publisher and his wife read through the book before it is published for sale. He wrote 15 revisions of Mississippi Trial before it was ready to be sold. Crowe went on to tell the students how he will think a book is done and pass it along to be revised, only to find out there were a lot of mistakes that need to be fixed.
When asked why Professor Crowe as invited to speak, Sue Ann Harding said, “We were dealing with race issues in class, so this was a good platform to discuss it.” The Cornerstone senior class has just recently finished reading the book and learning about the case. They were all very excited to have Chris Crowe answer their questions and go into detail about what he knew. After his presentation to the students, Sue Ann presented a gift card for chocolate to Chris Crowe.
Chris Crowe is also the author of “Getting Away with Murder: The true story of the Emmett Till” case, A Biography about Mildred D Taylor, and other short stories, novels and poems.