‘Women of the Movement’: ABC Filmed the Series in ‘Scary’ Original Locations According to Glynn Turman (Exclusive)

The Women of the Movement ABC TV series details the story of Emmett Till’s murder in Mississippi in 1955 and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley’s fight for justice, but where was it filmed? The 14-year-old boy traveled from Chicago to Winona, Mississippi to visit family. While there, a group of white men brutally murdered him for allegedly whistling at a white woman in a local store. Did Women of the Movement film in Mississippi or Chicago to stay true to the story’s roots?

'Women of the Movement' filmed in the original courtroom where Mamie Till-Mobley sat during the trial of her son, Emmett Till
‘Women of the Movement’ Adrienne Warren | ABC/James Van Evers

Where was ‘Women of the Movement’ filmed?

The Jay-Z and Will Smith produced historical series took the Women of the Movement cast to Mississippi for most of the filming. In an interview with Glynn Turman, who portrays Emmett’s great Uncle Mose, the actor told Showbiz Cheat Sheet that the filming took place in “all the actual locations.” There was one location that was emotionally difficult to film at.

“When they took the body out of the river, the scene that Mose is in,” Turman admitted it was a scary place to be.

“I have been in the profession a long time, and there are a lot of different situations and reenacting different events,” he continued. “But when they took me down to that river where they actually pulled the body out of the river and that was the actual spot, there was a marker and that marker has bullet holes in it. That’s what’s scary. They got the marker there stating: ‘This is where Emmett Till was taken out the river.’ And there were bullet holes saying, ‘I don’t give a sh*t.’ Excuse my French. So when you go there and you have to reenact the scene there; you’re dealing with recreating the past, but you’re also dealing with the present, which is no different. The bullet holes say nothing’s changed.”

'Women of the Movement' cast member Glynn Turman grasping the tip of his hat
Glynn Turman | Bobby Quillard/Bobby Quillard Inc.

According to Commercial Appeal, filming primarily took place in Greenwood, Mississippi. The location is close to Money, Mississippi, where Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam abducted and murdered Emmett. However, some filming took place in Ripley and Memphis, Tennessee.  

ABC filmed ‘Women of the Movement’ in the original courtroom 

In 1955, the trial of Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam occured in the Sumner courthouse. The producers of Women of the Movement filmed the trial scenes at the renamed Tallahatchie County Courthouse in Sumner. In recent years, the restoration of the second-floor courtroom made it look very similar to the original 1955 courtroom. At the trial, an all-white jury found the two men not guilty. Turman described what it was like to film in the actual Sumner courtroom.

Glynn Turman from the cast of 'Women of the Movement'
Glynn Turman | Bobby Quillard/Bobby Quillard Inc.

I’ve got a picture that I took when I was in the courthouse in Mississippi,” Turman told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “I was in character clothing but we were taking a break. And I sat down on a bench that said, ‘This bench for whites only,” so somebody took a picture of that. So, I sat there very aware that that was a ‘whites only bench,’ but it was a ‘whites only bench’ from that time period.”

Is ‘Women of the Movement’ a true story?

Yes, ABC’s Women of the Movement is based on the true story of Emmett Till’s murder in 1955. It is based on the book Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement by Devery S. Anderson. The ABC series details his mother’s fight for justice, which helped begin the civil rights movement. 

Although the story begins with Emmett, it centers around Mamie’s life, which she devoted to seeking justice for her son’s death. The Women of the Movement trailer gives the background information about why they filmed in Mississippi. The 14-year-old Black boy from Chicago traveled to Mississippi with his great Uncle Mose. While there, he innocently flirted with a white woman in a country store, which led to his lynching by a group of white men.

“Remember that place is not like Chicago,” Mamie told her son before he left for Winona, Mississippi. “White folks are going to treat you different now.”

After Emmett Till’s murder, Mamie insisted on an open casket in Chicago. She wanted the world to see what his killers did to him. She continued her fight for a trial; however, the killers were acquitted by an all-white jury. That verdict set in motion a movement for social change throughout the world. Although Mamie and Emmett’s story began in Chicago, Women of the Movement was not filmed there.

Women of the Movement airs on ABC on Jan. 6, Jan. 13, and Jan. 20. The 6-episode historical limited series is also available the next day on Hulu.

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