The show was first announced as being in development in August 2019. The first six-episode season is slated to debut in 2021. It will focus on Mamie Till Mobley, who devoted her life to seeking justice for her son Emmett Till following his brutal murder in the Jim Crow South. The season is inspired by the book “Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement” by Devery S. Anderson.
“Today marks 65 years since the tragic murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till,” said Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment. “This limited series will shine a light on the determined pursuit of justice by Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley. Their story involves inconceivable heartbreak and brutality but also the enduring love of a mother and her son, galvanizing a movement that carved the path for today’s racial justice movement. We are honored to be bringing their story to ABC backed by an all-star producing team.”
“Women of the Movement” is created by Marissa Jo Cerar, who will also serve as showrunner and executive producer The first episode will be directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, with Prince-Bythewood also executive producing. The news comes after it was announced Prince-Bythwood had signed a first-look deal with Touchstone Television, the recently rebranded Disney unit which used to be Fox 21 Television Studios.
“I am thrilled to bring this project to television. It is unfortunately very timely, and my hope is to give the audience a chance to learn who Emmett Till really was – the boy, rather than the victim or the martyr – while also showcasing Mamie’s astonishing strength in the face of a mother’s worst nightmare,” said Cerar. “Telling Emmett and Mamie’s story is a responsibility I have not taken lightly since I began this journey last year, because this is more than a tragedy; it’s a story about a mother’s unwavering love of her son and her commitment to bettering the lives of all Black people. I can’t wait to start filming. With the brilliant Gina Prince-Bythewood as our director, we could not be in better hands.”
Along with Cerar and Prince-Bythewood, Jay-Z, Jay Brown, and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith of Roc Nation and Will Smith and James Lassiter of Overbrook will also executive produce. Other executive producers include Aaron Kaplan, Dana Honor, and Michael Lohmann of Kapital Entertainment, Rosanna Grace of Serendipity Film Group, Alex Foster and John Powers Middleton of Middleton Media Group, and David Clark of Mazo Partners. Kapital Entertainment will produce.
“The story of Emmett Till and Mamie Till is not one I want to tell. It is a story I need to tell,” said Prince-Bythewood. “I am grateful to be on this journey with incredible collaborators who are determined to honor this mother and son with truth, authenticity and humanity.”