History Speaks

Wheeler Parker JrWheeler Parker, Jr.

The Emmett Till Story

Monday, February 19th
7:00pm | Hardeman Auditorium

Reserve Tickets

This year’s History Speaks program will feature civil rights and peace activist Wheeler Parker Jr. He will speak on Monday, February 19th at 7:00 pm in Oklahoma Christian University’s Hardeman Auditorium. The lecture is free, but reservation for tickets is required

Born in Slaughter, Mississippi in 1939 – Wheeler Parker’s family relocated to Chicago in 1947 with the hope of providing better living conditions and a better education for their children.

Till_Wheeler__Joe_On_Bike_courtesy_Wheeler_Parker_Jr_web_t670Wheeler returned to Mississippi with his grandfather, Moses Wright during the summer 1955. Travelling with him was his 14 year old cousin Emmett Till. The events of that week changed his life forever. The incident at the store in Money; the night of terror when Emmett was taken from the home and murdered, and his return to Chicago alone and in constant fear for his own life, still causes him to tremble and weep. He always believed he would see Emmett again, not being able to accept that the horrific corpse returned to Chicago was Emmett, and he was able to cope by believing he was not dead.  The last living eyewitness (besides Till’s accuser), Wheeler is a survivor of this event – an event that
sparked the civil rights movement – an event that Time Magazine said “Changed The World.” This event? The murder of Emmett Till. 


Past History Speaks guests have included Dr. Terrence Roberts and Carlotta Walls LaNier of the Little Rock Nine, as well as Claudette Colvin and civil rights attorney Fred Gray, who led the fight against bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama. Colvin was the first person arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus, preceding the Rosa Parks incident by nine months.  History speaks has also hosted John Carlos & Tommie Smith of the 1968 Olympic protest, and Freedom Ride organizer Diane Nash.