"Emmet Till Goes Skip-Stopping on the CTA"
Dr. Philip Kolin’s play “Emmett Till Goes Skip-Stopping on the CTA” appears in the Spring 2012 issue of Callaloo. Published by Johns Hopkins University Press, Callaloo is ”ranked as one of the top literary magazines in the United States” along with the Paris Review and the New Yorker, according to Every Writer’s Resources quoted on the Callaloo web site. Till was one of the central figures on the state of American racial trauma. His horrific murder is often seen as igniting the civil right movement. Adapting the techniques of magic realism, Kolin’s play focuses on Till’s heroic dreams in Chicago just a few weeks before his tragic journey to Mississippi in late August 1955. Much of the play occurs near or on a Chicago Transit Authority L train as Emmett travels from his mother’s apartment on the southeast side to the city and around the Loop. The play’s title refers to scheduling L trains to stop or skip a station, depending on the time of day. Kolin uses that practice as a metaphor for the various chronological shifts (going back and forth between 1955 and 2000) that occur in the play. For instance, Emmett refers to Viet Nam, Dr. King’s death, and rap as if they happened in 1955. “Emmett Till Goes Skip-Stopping” was performed several years ago at the University of Georgia and can be read through the Project Muse database.