The murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 brought national attention to the racial violence and injustice prevalent in the deep south. While on a trip from his hometown, Chicago, to visit relatives in Mississippi, Till went to the Bryant store with his cousins, and may have whistled at Carolyn Bryant, a white woman. Her husband, Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law, J.W. Milam, kidnapped and brutally murdered Till, dumping his body in the Tallahatchie River. The newspaper coverage and murder trial galvanized a generation of young African Americans to join the Civil Rights Movement out of fear that such an incident could happen to friends, family, or even themselves.

Trial in the Delta plays like a reenactment of the actual court proceedings that played out in Sumner, Mississippi in 1955. Key characters, based on real life, include presiding judge Curtis Swango, defense attorney J. J. Breeland, district attorney Gerald Chatham, and, of course, J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, the two men who were found not guilty of murdering Emmett Till, but later admitted to the heinous crime. Actors portraying witnesses for the defense and prosecution, including Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Bradley and other family members, will be seated among the audience, bringing the courtroom action to vivid life in a documentary-style setting.


This event is being created in partnership with The DuSable Museum of African American History.



Join us at The DuSable for the live reading of Trial in the Delta on
Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 7 p.m. CST!

  • $45 (general admission)

  • $25 (for CollaborActivists & DuSable members)

  • $15 (for youth, educators, seniors, artists, activists and low income patrons)*

 *be prepared to demonstrate eligibility onsite with business card, survey information, etc

Use the promo code JANUARY for 30% OFF ANY TICKET price until January 31st!


The production will be an immersive reenactment of the actual courtroom setting with the audience and actors co-mingled in the house.

As a result, Trial in the Delta promises to be a new, more authentic account of one of the most monumental injustices of the U.S. legal system in the 20th century.  

Run time is approximately 2 hours and will be followed by a Crucial Conversation with the audience. The reading will be filmed with multiple cameras for a corresponding video project.


Please be aware that a photography and film team will be recording and documenting the event. The photographs and films may be published, transmitted or broadcast by Collaboraction and used in public materials, including on Collaboraction's website, and may be circulated to the press and other broadcast media and internet websites for publication, transmission or broadcast. 



Drama Students
“This is the most healing form of activism that I have seen in my life. This is the future. This is all of our future. This is the future of Chicago's talent." 

– GQ of The Q Brothers