WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Biden Administration dedicated three memorials in two states for Emmitt Till. He’s the 14-year-old who was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955. His killers were eventually acquitted by an all-white jury. That injustice was one of the primary catalysts for the Civils Rights movement.
68 years after Emmitt Till was brutally murdered in the Mississippi Delta the country is memorializing the tragic end of his life with two monuments in Mississippi and another in Chicago.
Today would have been Emmitt Till’s 82nd Birthday. These memorials honor both Till and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley who pushed for justice following her son’s murder… and without her efforts justice would have never come in this case.
“To the Till family it’s an honor to be with you, you know when I was preparing these remarks, I quite frankly and my colleagues will understand this. I found myself trying to temper my anger. As I was writing. I’m not joking. I can’t fathom what it must’ve been like,” said President Biden in a ceremony at the White House. “I was 12-years-old. No matter how much time has passed how many birthdays, events anniversaries. It’s hard to relive this. it brings it all back as it happened yesterday. Images in your head that you remember.”
One person from North Florida who has spent years researching the Till case is Davis Houck. He’s 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 1950′s and how they covered the Till murder. Houck points to Mamie Till-Mobley and her efforts to get justice for her son as the reason why he’s still being honored today. “What perhaps people don’t realize is Emmitt Till’s body came out of the Tallahatchee River we think at that gravel spot. The local police said get that body in the ground first. And so Emmitt Till’s family in Money, MS prepared to have that body to be buried… and a hole was dug,” said Houck. “Mamie Till found out about it and put a halt to it and said no, no, no. That body is coming home to Chicago.”
The whole Emmitt Till saga began when he was accused of whistling at a white woman outside a Mississippi market. The woman’s husband is who kidnapped him. That woman was Carolyn Bryant. She died in just the past few months. And even right before she passed away there was a political push to have her arrested after a decades-old warrant was found around a year ago for her that was still active.
Despite that, she was never arrested before she died.