WASHINGTON “Today, the Biden administration erected three memorials in two states to Emmit Till. This is a 14-year-old teenager who was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955. His killers were acquitted by an all-white jury. This injustice was one of the main catalysts for the civil rights movement.
68 years after Emmit Till was brutally murdered in the Mississippi Delta, the country is commemorating his tragic end with two monuments in Mississippi and another in Chicago.
A Mississippi Department of Archives and History historical marker details the trial for the murder of Emmett Till at the Second Circuit Courthouse for Tallahatchie County on Monday, July 24, 2023, in Sumner, Mississippi. President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order Tuesday to erect a national monument in honor of Till, the black Chicago teenager whose kidnapping, torture and murder in Mississippi in 1955 helped advance the civil rights movement. The Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument, spread over three sites in Illinois and Mississippi, will be protected by the state. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (Copyright 2023, The Associated Press. All rights reserved) FILE – Undated portrait of Emmett Till. The 14-year-old Chicagoan was visiting relatives in Mississippi in August 1955 when he was kidnapped, tortured and killed after witnesses heard him whistle to a white woman. Till’s mother insisted on an open coffin burial, and Jet magazine published photographs of his mutilated body. These images galvanized the civil rights movement. On February 28, 2022, the County of Mississippi approved contracts for a bronze statue of Till to be installed in the park. (Photo/AP file) (Associated Press)
Today would have been Emmitt Till’s 82nd birthday. These memorials honor both Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, who sought justice after her son’s murder… and without her efforts, justice would never have come in this case.
“It is a great honor for the Till family to be with you, you know, when I prepared these remarks, I, frankly, and my colleagues will understand this. I found myself trying to temper my anger. While I was writing. I am not kidding. I can’t figure out what it must have been like,” President Biden said at a ceremony at the White House. “I was 12 years old. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, how many birthdays, events, anniversaries. It’s hard to get over it. it brings everything back to the way it was yesterday. The images in your head that you remember.”
CONNECTED: Nearly 70 years later, Emmett Till’s family is still seeking justice for his brutal murder.
One North Florida man who spent years investigating the Till case is Davis Hawke. He is a professor at Florida State University. He wrote the book Emmett Till and the Mississippi Press, which discusses the difference between the black and white press in the 1950s and how they covered Till’s assassination. Hawk points to Mamie Till-Mobley and her attempts to get justice for her son as the reason why he is still honored today. “People may not realize that Emmitt Till’s body came out of the Tallahatchie River in what we think is a gravel spot. The local police said to bury this body in the ground first. So Emmitt Till’s family in Money, Massachusetts prepared to bury this body… and a hole was dug,” Hawke said. “Mamie Till found out about it, put an end to it and said no, no, no. This body is coming home to Chicago.”
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – MARCH 22: Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, where Emmett Till’s funeral took place in 1955, is considered an endangered historic site and is currently under consideration for designation as a National Monument on March 22, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Till’s brutal murder in Money, Mississippi in the summer of 1955, and his mother’s decision to have an open-casket funeral to expose the brutality of the murder, are credited with starting the modern civil rights movement. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) (Getty Images, 2021)
The whole Emmitt Till saga began when he was accused of whistling a white woman near a market in Mississippi. The woman’s husband kidnapped him. That woman was Carolyn Bryant. She died in just the last few months. And even right before she passed away, there was a political push for her arrest after a decade-old warrant was found for her about a year ago that was still in effect.
Despite this, she was never arrested before her death.
FILE. This 1955 file photo is of Caroline Bryant. Carolyn Bryant Donham, a white woman who accused black teenager Emmett Till of inappropriate harassment before he was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, died Tuesday night, April 25, at a Louisiana hospice, according to a death report filed Thursday, April 27, 2023, at the Calcasier County coroner’s office in Louisiana . She was 88. (AP Photo/Gene Herrick, File) (AP1955)
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