By Carol McGowan
Nearly 150 people showed up to give support to Summit’s Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr. last week on the day his much-awaited book was released.
The book, officially released on January 10, is called “A Few Days Full of Trouble,” and is described as “revelations on the journey to justice for my cousin and best friend, Emmett Till.”
The almost 400-page book, co-authored by Christopher Benson, has been in the works for quite a few years and the release and signing were on the same day at the Summit Library.
Benson is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, lawyer, and associate professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
When asked about the turnout, Parker replied, “I’m surprised, really.”
Parker shouldn’t have been surprised. Some stood in line for over an hour waiting to buy, and have Parker himself sign the book.
“Everything went fine. The Summit Library rolled out the red carpet for their home boy. That was the book release day and Random House (the publisher) did their first signing the next night in Naperville. That signing went great as well at Anderson Book Shop sold out of what they had,” said Parker’s wife, Summit Village Trustee Dr. Marvel Parkers.
Parker dedicates the book “to my lovely wife of fifty-five years, Marvel McCain Parker.”
Library Director Hidaya Drew and her staff made it a good setting for the signing.
Family, friends, and village officials are some that came from miles to get the book were happy to be in good company, and enjoy refreshments while waiting to meet Parker.
Whitney Smith, who lives in Justice, was happy to wait in line.
“I went to support Pastor Wheeler Parker,” she said. “He’s worked so hard to get Emmett’s story out. Pastor Parker is an amazing man in the Summit community. He’s always giving his time and dedication. I wish him the best and pray he continues to be the great man he is.”
Parker is the last family member who was with Till on the night he was abducted in Mississippi in 1955. Till’s body was later found.
Till’s mother, Summit native Mame Till-Mobley, insisted her son have an open casket for all to see what was done to her teenage son.
Parker said he wrote the book to tell his side of the story, as he was in the home when Till was abducted.
Books are available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Target. They are also available through The Argo Temple Church in Summit, and the Summit Community Task Force (The Emmett Till Center) in Summit.
Parker will be busy traveling around the country with book signings. There are plans in the next month or two to be in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Atlanta, Michigan, and Ohio.
Locally, on February 27, Parker will be at Southwest CEDA at 116th and Pulaski, the Union Club in Chicago on February 23, and in Winnetka on February 28.
Television appearances have kept the Parkers busy. “Good Morning America” came to Argo Temple Church to air a segment on Monday, January 9, he was on MSNBC on Sunday morning.
CSPAN also recorded a segment, and Parker was also on Amanpour & Company last Wednesday.