On the case: FSU presents third annual Emmett Till Archives Lecture Series with retired FBI special agent 

Retired FBI special agent Dale Killinger, who led the 2004 investigation into Emmett Till's murder.
Retired FBI special agent Dale Killinger, who led the 2004 investigation into Emmett Till's murder.

Florida State University will host a talk on the FBI’s investigation and its key findings in Emmett Till’s kidnapping and murder as part of the third annual Emmett Till Archives Lecture Series. 

Retired FBI special agent Dale Killinger, who led the 2004 investigation, will present a discussion of previously unknown key witnesses, admissions by the killers, the autopsy of Till’s remains and obtaining key admissions from Till’s accuser, Carolyn Bryant. 

The talk will take place from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, in the FSU Globe Auditorium. 

“It’s been nearly 20 years since Dale Killinger began investigating the people and places involved in the murder of Emmett Till,” said Davis Houck, Fannie Lou Hamer Professor of Rhetorical Studies in the School of Communication at FSU. “During that time, he’s become an indispensable resource when it comes to piecing together the often-confusing details of the case.” 

This event is funded by the Emmett Till Lecture and Archives Fund, established by Houck in collaboration with FSU Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives. 

The Emmett Till Archives includes newspapers, magazines, oral histories, records of civil rights organizations, photographs, government records, scholarly literature, creative works and other materials documenting the Till case and its commemoration, memorialization and discussion in scholarship and popular culture. 

“Archives are part of the evidence of our histories,” said Katie McCormick, associate dean for FSU’s Special Collections and Archives. “The collections that comprise the Emmett Till Archives provide documentation for both the lies that have been told, and believed, and the truths of the Emmett Till case and its impact. We are honored that Mr. Killinger accepted our invitation and will share with us his perspectives on the case and the importance of documentary evidence in the pursuit of justice.” 

The 2004 investigation remains Killinger’s most notable. He identified and interviewed previously unknown witnesses, located a trial transcript missing for over 40 years and participated in the exhumation and autopsy of Till’s body, presenting all of his findings to a grand jury. 

An FBI Academy alumnus, Killinger has investigated all manner of crime, including civil rights violations, crimes against children, bank robberies, white collar crimes and other violations of federal law for 10 years. He is a certified FBI hostage negotiator and police instructor. Killinger holds certifications as an FBI Police Instructor, FBI Crisis Negotiator, Insider Threat Program Manager and Insider Threat Vulnerability Assessor from Carnegie Melon University. 

To RSVP to the event, visit bit.ly/FSUEmmettTillLecture2024. 

The archives are open to the public, with some materials currently available at bit.ly/TillDigitalArchives 

To learn more about FSU Libraries and Special Collections, visit lib.fsu.edu/special-collections.