FSU professor returns from whirlwind White House trip to celebrate ‘Till’ movie

FSU professor Davis Houck said a whirlwind trip to the White House was "incredible."
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 6:25 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Florida State University professor is fresh off an unexpected trip to the White House, invited by President Biden last week to attend a screening of the film ‘Till.’

Rhetorical Studies Professor Davis Houck is a leading Emmett Till scholar and played an instrumental role in creating FSU’s Emmett Till archive at Strozier Library.

Houck’s work influenced many of the film’s creators, including producer Keith Beauchamp.

He said he thought the email from the White House might be spam at first, but soon realized it was the real deal. He booked a last-minute flight to Washington and was in the audience as President Biden gave a speech on Till’s 1955 lynching.

“I’m still processing it, and it’s just been a couple of days and the event was incredible,” Prof. Houck said. “To be invited was incredibly flattering. I’m still...gosh, was I at the White House a few days ago? Because I’m back in Tallahassee and it doesn’t feel real.”

He said exposure like this should help continue to grow the archive as more people donate primary source documents that help tell Till’s story.