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Kent Library at Southeast Missouri State University
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The Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work & Sociology's Emmett Till Lectures guest speaker will be Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr.
He is Pastor of Argo Temple Church of God in Christ, the church that Emmett Till’s grandmother, Alma Spearmon started in her home. The pursuit of justice in the lynching and brutal murder of his best friend and cousin on August 28, 1955 has been a central focal point of his mission and ministry for years.
In his quest for accountability he has participated in the 2004 FBI investigation of Emmett Till’s murder and the 2017 reopening, and along with the late activist Alvin Sykes, participated in the development of congressional legislation that established a cold case unit at the Department of Justice that allows the Department of Justice to reopen unsolved Civil Rights era murders. This legislation was named the EMMETT TILL UNSOLVED CIVIL RIGHTS CRIME ACT. It was signed into law by President George W. Bush and reauthorized in perpetuity by President Barak H. Obama.
In March, President Joe Biden signed into law the Emmett Till anti-lynching law after 100 years of congress attempting to make lynching a crime. He participated in drafting the bill that was passed by the Senate and the house In December 2022, that awards the Congressional Gold Medal posthumous to Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley, This medal will be presented to Rev. Wheeler Parker.
As a public lecturer, Pastor Parker has presented in a variety of forums, including elementary, middle, high schools and Universities in the United States and Belize. He has led historical tours for social activist throughout the Mississippi Delta in connection with the Mississippi Center for Justice, and Delta State University. In 2017, he co-sponsored a reenactment of the 1955 trial by a multi-racial high school student group who traveled from West Virginia to deliver a dramatic presentation of the murder trial transcript in the restored Tallahatchie County Courthouse.
His journey to justice has included a relentless advocacy for truth, as he has been deeply disappointed by the many erroneous news, books, and documentary reports that have been produced surrounding Emmett’s case. His Memoir, “A Few Days Full of Trouble” was released by Random House, January 10, 2023. and is currently at Amazon, Target and Barnes and Noble.
He has carried his commitment as a truth-bearer, with a message of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. A true Drum Major for Justice, the cousin and best friend of the late Emmett Till, Pastor Wheeler Parker Jr.