In August 1955, a 14-year-old African American named Emmett Louis Till left Chicago to visit relatives in Money, Mississippi; during his stay he was killed for whistling at a white woman and became a catalyst for the American Civil Rights Movement. Filmmaker Keith Beauchamp's decade-long investigation of Till's heinous murder resulted in The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, an outstanding documentary that explores Till's life and death. Interviews with his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley (who died in 2003), civil rights leaders and eyewitnesses are interspersed with archival footage of press statements, the trial of Till's killers, and witness commentary.

One of many affecting points in the film is when Mamie Till-Mobley describes her son's mangled corpse and her reason for having an open casket funeral: "I want the world to see what they did to my son." Ultimately, Till's murderers (Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam) were found not guilty by an all-white jury but later confessed to committing the crime; double jeopardy prevented them from being retried. But Beauchamp's footage reveals that Bryant and Milam were not the only men involved in Emmett Till's murder -- his discovery of possibly living guilty parties incited the Justice Department to re-open Till's case in May 2004.

Ultimately, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till creates history as it explores it, an admirable quality in a pioneering film that explores an uglier part of American history that must not be forgotten.