The White House has decided to establish a national monument in honor of Emmett Till, a teen who was murdered that prompted his mother to partake in the civil rights movement. Biden said the monument would be on Tuesday, Till’s 82nd birthday.
A White House official mentioned it will be placed in Illinois, his home town, and Mississippi, where he was murdered. They add its designation was part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance civil rights and protect places that shaped American history.
The monument was to tell the story of Till’s murder, how an all-white jury let his murderers free, and his mother enacting activism to further push the civil rights movement from the injustice they’re facing.
Till’s Legacy and Till-Mobley’s Activism
Till was visiting relatives in Mississippi, but was brutally killed after being accused of displaying inappropriate behavior towards Carolyn Bryant, a white woman. His body was then dumped at Tallahatchie River, his funeral would be at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ.
His death devastated his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, who let his funeral be an open casket for people to see what his murderers did to him. This would kick start her activism, primarily centering around educating students.
The White House official mentioned the monument would center on three different sites, his funeral site, Graball Landing, believed to be where Till’s body was retrieved, and Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse, where the trial of his murderers took place and were acquitted.
The establishment came at a time VP Harris visited Florida and criticized officials’ new education standard curriculum about slavery. Critics argued it was trying to alter history by trying to feed lies to students.
This curriculum sparked debates and criticisms in regards to the approach of teaching slavery history to students, as it included how African-Americans benefited from this event.