Using blank verse, Grace Ruo crafted a short poem designed for performance in poetry slams. In this gripping piece, she likens the tragic means by which Emmett Till achieved immortality with Jesus Christ. This work demonstrates the continued relevance of Mamie Till-Mobley’s decision to show the world what white racists did to her son on his summer visit to Mississippi in 1955.
As the story goes, Carolyn Bryant accused Emmett Till of harassment by whistling at her in a store. Bryant then told her husband about the incident, resulting in Till’s murder. Bryant’s husband and an accomplice admitted to the lynching after being acquitted by an all white jury. Years later, in January 2017, reports surfaced that Carolyn Bryant confessed to a writer that she lied about the harassment. The writer, Timothy Tyson, recorded her admission in 2007 and shared this with the public upon the publication of his book on the murder of Emmett Till.
“Anchors” is a deeply felt poem that helped St. Louis win 2020 Brave New Voices Youth Poetry Slam championship and elevated Grace to 2021 St. Louis Youth Poet Laureate.