Biden Hosts Screening of Till

President addresses countering hate to audience
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 16, 2023 6:15 PM CST
Biden Hosts Screening of Till
A movie poster for the film "Till" is displayed as people arrive for a screening of the movie in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Biden on Thursday hosted a screening of the movie Till, a wrenching new drama about the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, who was brutally killed after a white woman said the Black 14-year-old had made advances toward her. "History matters," Biden said in brief remarks before the lights in the East Room came down on invited guests, including members of Till's family, the AP reports He noted that while some might want to ignore the nation's history, "Only with truth comes healing and justice." Biden said that he's come to learn that "hate never goes away," adding, "There's only one thing that stops it: all of us. Silence is complicity."

Among the members of Till's family was a cousin who is suing in federal court to force a Mississippi sheriff to serve a recently discovered 1955 arrest warrant on the now nearly 90-year-old woman who complained about the young man. Biden did not comment on the suit, but he thanked members of Till's family for "never, ever, ever giving up" in the pursuit of justice. Others attending were the film's actors, including Danielle Deadwyler, Mamie Till-Mobley, Jalyn Hall, and Whoopi Goldberg, plus Chinonye Chukwu, the Nigerian American filmmaker who directed Till.

Also in the audience, where popcorn and candy were passed out and a pack of tissues placed on each seat, were students, civil rights leaders, historians, and families of victims of hate-fueled violence. Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said this week that it was important to the president to host the screening during Black History Month "to lift this movie up" and to make sure that Till's story is not forgotten. Last March, Biden signed legislation named for Till that made lynching a federal hate crime. Hours before the screening, Biden signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to conduct annual reviews aimed at increasing access by disadvantaged communities to federal programs, services, and activities.

(Read more President Biden stories.)

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