In January 2022, ABC released the docuseries “Let the World See.” I watched this historical drama about Mamie Till and her son Emmett Till. Mammie fought for justice (though not delivered) and for truth. I was riveted by what I saw. The docuseries is a shocking reminder of an important historical event. It evoked eerie parallels to recent events in the news. This illuminating series reminds us of the life and tragedy of Emmett Till which was not very long ago. While we have made progress, we still have a long way to go.
I shared my thoughts about the series with friends and expressed embarrassment at how many details I found to be new or that I simply forgot. I shared that if I, a person who had been reared on this story and studied it in school, could learn something new how about those who have never known the story—especially as more places are removing this story from school textbooks and making it illegal even to discuss it.
I had the privilege to study under Dr. Robert Livingston at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. I enrolled in his “Promoting Racial Equity in the Workplace” Executive Education Program. We had many riveting conversations that were deeply intellectual yet raw and frank during the program. People were allowed to be vulnerable while being honest, no matter their point of view.
During one lecture and facilitated conversation, a middle-aged Caucasian police officer shared he lived in a rural area and worked as a cop there. He never left his hometown and never interacted with people of color. He admitted he never heard the story of Emmett Till until coming to the program. I admired his vulnerability and desire to help himself and his community by becoming more educated. It underscores the importance of education and having stories like Emmett Till’s told rather than be absconded from history.
The docuseries uses footage available from news sources at the time showing the actual people from the events. Another series, Women of the Movement, was released around the same time. It is a wonderful re-enactment of the events of the time using actors rather than actual footage but adheres closely to the facts.
Mamie Till was simply a loving mother who was changed into a mourning mother and, in the process became a leader in ways she could never have imagined. She was thrust onto the global stage and became an activist and heroine.
Mamie’s life is full of leadership lessons worth following. The first lesson emerges when Emmett is born with the umbilical cord wrapped around him. This causes issues, leading the doctor to tell her it would be best for Emmett to be put in an institution because he “may never walk on his own.” Mamie rejected this advice and insisted on raising her son at home and doing whatever it took for him to “be free.” Because of her decisiveness and strength, Emmett overcame this early challenge and was walking, living the “free” life his mother wanted until his untimely death. At times, others may have our best interest in mind. They may even be experts in their field. However, there are times when it’s important to listen to the inner voice in our head and push beyond what others say. There is always someone who beats the odds—why not you?
Mamie’s decisiveness and belief in making her own decisions would later surface and serve her when Emmett was mercilessly tortured to the point his face was disfigured, he was murdered, and thrown into a river in 1955 at the tender age of 14. She fought for his body to be brought back to the state of Illinois before it could be buried in Mississippi, where he had been killed. When the body arrived back in Illinois, she defied the agreement to keep the casket closed and told the funeral director not to try to repair the damage done to his body. She then took the action that changed the course of history—she held an open casket funeral saying: “Let the World See!” She wanted the entire world to see how vicious the hatred of people of color looks when acted upon. She showed the world what it looks like when traditions and a “way of life” are more important than human life.
Mamie Till’s courageous leadership in the face of unimaginable pain is credited with igniting the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The Civil Rights Movement changed life for people of color and other historically disenfranchised people in a positive way that still reverberates today.
Mamie Till’s story about her son Emmett is a story of self-leadership turning into informal leadership. Mamie was a loving mother who was turned into a mourning mother and a leader that changed the course of history to the benefit of many. She did not intend to become the leader she became. This story worth telling reminds us that many great leaders come from ordinary circumstances. It also reminds us that leadership is often informal before it becomes formal. The world sees the leader Mamie Till!
EDDIE TURNER RECOGNIZED AS THE #9 MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER IN THE WORLD BY GLOBAL GURUS!
World’s Top 30 Motivational Speakers for 2022
EDDIE TURNER, a motivational leadership speaker, based in Houston, Texas, has been recognized as a Global Guru and one of the Top 10 Motivational Speakers in the World for the second consecutive year!
The Top 30 Gurus are the “Cream of the Crop.” They are the World’s Top 30 most influential Professional Speakers, Trainers, and Consultants in their areas and received more than 500 votes each. All apply their principles to achieve superior results in organizations. They develop and influence people and organizations worldwide.
To view the entire list, visit https://globalgurus.org/motivational-gurus-top-30/.
My first career was in information technology. I’m still a tech guy at heart who enjoys keeping up with the latest tech tips and trends.
This month I share one that helps me as a new father, and that may be helpful to you if you have a new bundle of joy in your life.
Apple Watch Water Lock
I’m a new dad. Now that my daughter is growing and endlessly curious, she always plays with my Apple watch when in my arms. To avoid her making calls, activating applications, setting timers, and other interesting events that have happened, I started putting my watch in sleep mode when I held her. After a couple of missed meetings and important calls, I realized that was not a good strategy. So how could I continue holding my daughter while not having missing meetings and calls or having her activating things I did not want?
It occurred to me upon leaving the pool, there is another option! Apple has a feature available on Apple Watch Series 2 or later to lock the face of the watch when you are in the water. Once activated, the watch face does not respond to input. Presto! That’s my new strategy. Whenever my beautiful daughter jumps into my arms, I immediately turn on the water lock feature! It’s made a huge difference! It’s just what I needed.
Book of the Month Recommendations
I had the great honor of meeting Dr. Robert Livingston at a Harvard Kennedy School event in 2016. He is a social scientist and Harvard professor who is one of the world’s foremost scholars on Race and Diversity. I was impressed by the content he delivered but even more so by his unparalleled command of a room filled with notable scholars and Harvard alum from across the globe. I promised myself I would make the investment to study under him no matter what it took.
I am fortunate my quest to study under Dr. Livingston was delayed. My opportunity arrived in May 2021. I ended up getting the chance to attend the Promoting Racial Equity in the Workplace Executive Education program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. This program gives leaders effective strategies for increasing diversity, inclusion, and racial equity in organizations. In this newly revamped program, Dr. Livingston’s his new book, The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations, was released and used as the curriculum for the program. Having his wisdom explained directly from him and not just reading the book is an experience I will always cherish.
Dr. Livingston’s book, The Conversation, should be required reading at institutions everywhere. This book has received recognition from authoritative sources from around the globe, including being a finalist for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year and an NAACP Image Award Nominee.
📚Get your copy on Amazon! https://amzn.to/3rHlZzU
Learn more about Dr. Livingston at https://robertwlivingston.com
Eddie Turner with Dr. Robert Livingston, a preeminent scholar on race and diversity, after his stirring lecture to Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Alum at the United States Institute of Peace (2016)
Right Within: How to Heal from Racial Trauma in the Workplace
Author of The Memo
Minda Harts is the 2020 LinkedIn Top Voice for Equity in the Workplace. She is an award-winning author and sought-after speaker. Definitely someone to watch!
📚Get your copy on Amazon! https://amzn.to/3sFaXKP
Source: Minda Harts Instagram
Books Available for Pre-Order
Building Corporate Soul: Powering Culture & Success with the Soul System™
With this new book, visionary business leader, Ralf Specht, advances his mission to “make soulless companies a thing of the past!”
📚Pre-Order your copy on Amazon! https://amzn.to/3LvgrAw
Podcast of the Month Recommendation
My friend, Ginny Clarke is a former Director at Google and a former Partner at the executive search firm Spencer Stuart. Her podcast, Fifth Dimensional Leadership showcases her vast experience and connections to top leaders.
Thrive with Meridith Elliott Powell
I had a chance to appear on my friend and fellow National Speakers Association colleague Meridith Elliott Powell’s Thrive podcast. I explained the incredible work my new company Linkage, Inc. does to advance women leaders and promote inclusive workplaces with Purposeful Leadership® Watch our conversation and follow Meridith’s incredible work! https://bit.ly/3uMbvkB
Keep Leading!® Podcast (On Pause but Powerful)
I’ve paused the production of the Keep Leading!® podcast but love looking back at the powerful words of the incredible leaders I interviewed. Check out this look back at one of my most memorable episodes with Haben Girma, the first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School. We discussed Haben’s book and her advocacy for equal opportunities for people with disabilities and why it matters for leaders.
🎧 60 Second Preview 🎧 available by clicking here: https://youtu.be/Z_n4Svx-TZM
Visit http://bit.ly/2ZE4mQW for the entire episode or wherever you listen to podcasts!