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Tuesday 23 July, 2024
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Who was Emmett Till?

BY Shahzad Saeed Aug 02, 2023. 06:38 pm UPDATED: Aug 02, 2023. 06:38 pm

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President Biden signed a proclamation creating the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument, fulfilling a 68-year-old promise.

To honor the tragic tale of Emmett Till, a Black teenager whose kidnapping and brutal murder in Mississippi in 1955 served as a spark for the civil rights movement, President Joe Biden signed a historic proclamation on Tuesday creating the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument. An enduring American tale received national recognition with the signing, which represented the fulfillment of a promise made by Till’s kin after his passing.

According to Till’s cousin, Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., the monument, which is spread across three locations in two states, aims to go beyond being just a civil rights narrative. He emphasized the significance of remembering and taking lessons from this crucial period in the history of the country by saying that it is now an “American story.”

Who was Emmett Till?

In the summer of 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till from Chicago visited his relatives in Mississippi. Unbelievably, he was kidnapped by two white men, who murdered and tortured him indescribably. He was only accused of flirting with one of his kidnappers’ wives.

Mamie Till-Mobley, Till’s mother, bravely pushed for an open-casket funeral after he passed away, allowing graphic photos of her son’s dismembered body to appear in Jet magazine. Her son was subjected to heartbreaking acts of brutality, which shocked the country and sparked the civil rights movement.

The Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi, where Emmett’s killers were tried and exonerated by an all-white jury, Graball Landing, where his body was found in the Tallahatchie River, and the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago, where his funeral was held, are all included in the new national monument.

Despite the federal protection that these locations now enjoy, ongoing efforts are made to protect the Till legacy and create educational programming. Together with other organizations, the Till family members and the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund hope to raise money to restore the locations and guarantee their inclusion in the National Park System.

As conservative leaders work to restrict the teaching of Black history and slavery in public schools, particularly at the state and local levels, the creation of the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument has special significance. Through this designation, the Biden-Harris administration reaffirms its dedication to advancing civil rights and fighting any initiatives aimed at erasing America’s racist past.

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