New multistate memorial will honor Emmett Till, Mamie Till-Mobley

Published 3:40 pm Monday, July 24, 2023

President Joe Biden is set to commemorate the 82nd anniversary of Emmett Till’s birth by establishing the “Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument,” marking his fourth such type of designation since assuming office. The upcoming proclamation is scheduled for Tuesday.

The monument, stretching across both Illinois and Mississippi, aims to “preserve and elevate the significant locations linked to Till’s life, brutal racially-motivated murder, and the consequent activism of his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley,” according to a press release. Till’s mother’s efforts exposed the world to the stark racial injustices of the era, following the acquittal of Till’s murderers.

The Illinois monument will be at the Robert Temple Church of God in Christ in Bronzeville, the historic black neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. This church hosted a mournful gathering of thousands in September 1955 following the shocking revelation of Till’s death.

Email newsletter signup

In Mississippi, the monument will incorporate two important sites: Graball Landing, the location where Till’s disfigured body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River, and the Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner. The latter site is infamous as the courthouse where an all-white jury acquitted Till’s murderers.

The Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument is part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness of Emmett and his mother’s impactful story. For instance, in April, Argo Community High School in Summit, Ill., unveiled a life-sized bronze sculpture of Till-Mobley, one of their former students. Her heart-wrenching choice to publicly display her son’s mutilated body at his funeral drew international attention to the vicious racism in America, marking a crucial moment that helped ignite the civil rights movement.

As a White House official expressed, the monument’s designation epitomizes their efforts to “protect places that help tell a more complete story of our nation’s history.”