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A statue of Emmett Till

Source: Scott Olson / Getty

President Joe Biden will take a momentous step to honor the memory of Emmett Till, the teenager who tragically lost his life in 1955.

The monument will also pay tribute to Mamie Till-Mobley, his courageous mother who played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement that followed.

The new national monument, to be named the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument will encompass three protected sites in Illinois and Mississippi.

These sites hold deep historical significance. One of them is Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, situated in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, where Emmett’s funeral was held in September 1955.

This announcement brought tears of joy to Patrick Weems, the executive director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center. He believes that monuments like this are essential for educating people about America’s past and promoting healing and progress, stating, “After 15 years of hard work, we have finally achieved a designation that we believe is pivotal to our nation’s story.”

In addition, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has provided technical preservation support and $750,000 in critical grant funding to aid in the rescue of sites important to the Till legacy.

The national monument’s creation on Emmett’s 82nd birthday comes amid ongoing discussions about erasing of teaching Black history in schools. The monument will spearhead conversations about the past.

Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley

Emmett Till

Emmett Till was just 14 when he was kidnapped, tortured, and killed in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman.

Till was a young teen born on July 25, 1941, in Chicago, Illinois.

In August 1955, at just 14 years old, he traveled to Money, Mississippi, to visit family. During his time there, he was accused of whistling at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, which led to a chain of events that would forever change history.

Till was murdered on the night of August 28, 1955, by Carolyn Bryant’s husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam. The two men were charged with murder but not shockingly were acquitted by an all-white jury in the Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi.

Mamie Bradley

Source: Afro American Newspapers/Gado / Getty

His mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, bravely chose to have an open casket at his funeral, showing the world the cruelty of racism. Her actions fueled the civil rights movement and exposed the horrible treatment of Black people at that time.

As we reflect on the bravery of Mamie Till-Mobley, who witnessed to her son’s tragic fate, we are reminded that the fight for racial equality is far from over.

The Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument serves as a call to action for all Americans to continue the work of dismantling systemic racism. Ensuring the terrible past that was brought upon us is never erased and forever remembered.


How The 1955 Emmett Till Murder Case Helped Define Civil Rights 

Carolyn Bryant Donham’s Leaked Memoir, Arrest Warrant Aren’t Enough ‘New’ Emmett Till Evidence, Mississippi AG Says

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