President Biden to Establish Monument Honoring Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley

President Biden signs proclamation to create a national monument commemorating Emmett Till and his mother's activism amid racial tensions in the US.
President Biden to Establish Monument Honoring Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden is set to sign a proclamation on Tuesday, the anniversary of Emmett Till's birth, establishing a national monument in honor of the young Black teenager whose brutal abduction, torture, and killing in 1955 galvanized the Civil Rights Movement. The monument, named the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument, will be spread across three significant sites in Illinois and Mississippi, preserving the legacy of Till's life, his mother's activism, and the fight for racial justice.

The Illinois site, Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Bronzeville, holds historical significance as it witnessed thousands of mourners gathering to pay their respects to Emmett Till in September 1955. In Mississippi, the two sites chosen are Graball Landing, believed to be where Till's mutilated body was retrieved from the Tallahatchie River, and the Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner, where Till's killers were acquitted by an all-white jury.

Till's tragic story began when he visited relatives in Mississippi and was accused by Carolyn Bryant Donham of whistling and making sexual advances toward her. Later, he was abducted, shot, and his body thrown into the Tallahatchie River with a cotton gin fan used as a weight. Despite overwhelming evidence, his white killers, Roy Bryant, and J.W. Milam, were acquitted by an all-white jury. Their subsequent confession in a paid interview only highlighted the grave injustice of the trial.

The national monument will safeguard these critical sites that played a pivotal role in Till's life and death, his mother's courageous insistence on an open casket funeral to expose the brutality, and Jet magazine's publication of the harrowing photos that fueled the Civil Rights Movement.

Biden's decision to establish the monument comes at a time when the United States is grappling with racial tensions and debates over teaching Black history in schools and promoting diversity and inclusion. The president's previous efforts to honor Emmett Till include hosting a screening of the movie "Till" during Black History Month and signing the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act into law in March 2022.

This new national monument stands as a powerful symbol of the ongoing struggle for civil rights and racial equality, commemorating the life of a young Black boy whose tragic death continues to inspire the fight against systemic racism and injustice.


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