The brutal lynching of Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley’s, activism will be recognized with three new monuments with the signing of a new proclamation next week. President Joe Biden will sign the decree establishing the national monuments in honor of the mother and son on Tuesday (July 25), which also marks what would have been Till’s 82nd birthday.
A White House official told The Chicago Defender that “The designation reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to advance civil rights and commitment to protecting places that help tell a more complete story of our nation’s history.”
The monuments will be located in three different locations of significance across Illinois and Mississippi: the site of his memorial at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago’s Southside neighborhood of Bronzeville; Graball Landing, Mississippi, where Till’s body was removed from the Tallahatchie River; and Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi, where his suspected killers, Roy Bryant and John Milan, were acquitted by an all-white jury in September 1955.
Till was abducted from his uncle’s home, brutalized, and lynched when he was 14 years old. He was accused of making a pass at Carolyn Bryant Donham, a white woman, at a convenience store. In an unpublished memoir, Donham claimed that she begged her then-husband, Bryant, and his half-brother not to harm the teen. She died this past April from cancer at the age of 88.
Two years ago, Congress passed the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2021. The nationally revered award will be on display at the National Museum of African American History near Till’s casket.
Till-Mobley’s advocacy for her son has long been credited with galvanizing the civil rights movement and attracting widespread coverage of the heinous consequences of segregation and racism in America. At her request, the teen’s disfigured face was photographed by JET magazine as he lay in his casket. It has since been recognized as the most well-known lynching.
Sixty-five years after his murder, Congress showed overwhelming support with a 410-4 vote to pass the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act. The bill was signed by President Biden in March 2022, making the gruesome act of lynching a federal crime.
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