July 24, 2014


By E. Willa Simpson


In this insightful new book “On My Brother’s Shoulders: An African American Anthology and Tribute to People of Color,” E. Willa Simpson takes readers on a journey through the African American experience in the United States as retold in poetic terms.  This literary work pays tribute to countless African American leaders who sacrificed their basic freedoms and in many cases even their lives for the longevity of the “human race.”  Through Simpson’s scholarly, thought provoking analysis of the movement and unique critical dialogue as reflected through firsthand interviews with key civil rights leaders including Angela Davis, Michael Eric Dyson, Mamie Till Mobley and Howard Bingham (producer of motion picture film Ali); Simpson’s work promises to leave readers pondering just how deeply African Americans were affected by their shackled enslavement, the psychological impact of lynchings and tumultuous history in the United States.  Simpson senses the worth involved in honoring the lives of those who contributed unselfishly to the struggle for justice and equality.


“On My Brother’s Shoulders” is a significant contribution to African American history as it provides a first hand account of the aftermath of the Emmett Till Lynching of 1955 as retold through Emmett Till’s beloved mother; longtime educator and civil rights advocate Mamie Till Mobley.  Simpson states, “This literary work pays tribute to those who came before us and laid down their lives so that future generations would be able to have better and continue to sing a triumphant song.”  Simpson's book presents a timeless journey through the early civil rights movement as portrayed through the skillful retelling of the brutal lynching of Emmett Till a fourteen year old youth who was accused of having wolf whistled at a white woman.  Through Simpson's thoughtful examination of the ideology behind lynching noted filmmaker, historian and poet; E. Willa Simpson pays tribute to countless African Ameri­can leaders including Angela Davis, Michael Eric Dyson, Medgar Evers, Ida B. Wells, Mamie Till Mobley  and more.  “I am hoping that this book will begin the process of opening up critical dialogue in the African American community as it relates to the many social injustices pervasive during the civil rights movement and thereafter, combined with the impact of post-traumatic slave disorder and brutal assassination of our leaders.  We can only begin the process of healing once we begin to examine the ideologies and social structures that contributed to the racial persecution of Blacks in the United States, openly acknowledge these injustices and seek out specific solutions to existing issues that are still prevalent in the African American community today,”… E. Willa Simpson. 


This book was written in hopes of getting older generations talking and sharing with younger generations about their experiences during the early civil rights movement and with being Black in America; as well as to create a general interest among youth to study their history beyond the walls of the traditional public school system and academia.  Simpson states “We must change the course of history through the intentional inclusion of our stories in history books as retold by African Americans and further legitimized by the educational system, however in the meantime we must diligently pursue the truth of our experience in this country (including post-traumatic slave disorder) for ourselves.  The lynching of Emmett Louis Till was one of the most talked about lynchings in the history of the United States and a necessary part of our understanding of race relations that should be included in educational texts throughout the country.”  As Angela Davis stated in this anthology of interviews, “The case of Emmett Till marked a moment of “extreme de conscience,” a moment of coming to consciousness in a very intense way about the need to bring about social change.”  And it is this imperative need to re-envision history as portrayed through the eyes of key civil rights leaders that is still relevant to social issues existing today.  “On My Brother’s Shoulders: An African American Anthology and Tribute to People of Color” is available for purchase now at Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Books a Million, Kobo Books, and other Major Retailers.  You may follow the author at her website located at www.ewillasimpson.com.                                           


E. Willa Simpson is a longtime advocate for civil rights and justice; formerly residing on the local advisory committee of the “Tavis Smiley” Foundation.  Simpson’s many accomplishments include film and television production, in addition to several publishing credits receiving national acclaim.  Simp­son made her directorial debut with a documentary entitled “The Lynching Tree” featuring political activist Angela Davis; and is currently working on several upcoming literary and theatrical projects. Contact Media Relations (562) 607-9533, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Category: Arts & Culture