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TULSA, Okla. — Terrell Galloway, an 18-year-old senior student at East Central High School, will soon take center stage and play the role of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African American, who was viciously attacked and lynched in Mississippi on August 28, 1955.
“The story of Emmett Till is about a kid who was lynched in rural Mississippi for whistling at a white woman. That night, Emmett was at his uncle’s house, and they [two older white men] came and got him,” Galloway explained, then added, “They took Emmett to a barn, beat him up, cut out his tongue, shot him in the eye, cut off his ear, and then lynched him. Emmett’s body was [later] found in the Tallahassee River.”
“Emmett Till’s mother said that she wanted her son’s casket opened at his funeral, so the whole world could see what these men did to her son,” he said.
Galloway shared that his own mother is excited that her son will be playing such an impactful role in a city that once experienced its own extreme racial violence.
The high school senior said he first became intrigued by the performing arts when Dr. Rodney Clark, a former educator, invited Galloway to try out for a production titled the Griffins that is based on a true story of a Greenwood family that survived the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Galloway said that he believes it’s essential to continue elevating these critical roles. “It’s important to me to play the role of Emmett Till because kids today need to know about their history.”
When Galloway was asked if Emmett Till had been white would he had still undergone the same brutal experience, Galloway’s immediate response was, “No, he would have been locked up.”
Then he added, “Racism has to stop. God wants us to love each other and come together so this world can change for the better.”
Galloway plans to attend Bethany College after graduation and would like to thank Dr. Clark, Ms. Williams (the principal at East Central), Mr. Daniels, his mother, his grandmother and grandfather, and his many teachers who have all supported him along his journey.
He also mentioned that he would like Tulsans to come out to see this powerful play in which he stars in.