UPDATED: October 24, 9:30 AM EST:
A fundraiser launched to replace a bullet-riddled memorial sign marking the location where Emmett Till’s tortured remains were found has reached its goal—and then some.
As NewsOne first reported below, the marker is one of eight memorializing the brutal murder of the Chicago teen in the Mississippi Delta in the summer of 1955. It has been repeatedly vandalized since it first went up in 2007 and had more than 50 bullet holes in it, making the words illegible.
The issue of the desecration came to light when filmmaker Kevin Wilson Jr., a film student working on a short film on Till, titled My Nephew Emmett, shared a photo of the sign on Facebook.
The Emmett Till Interpretive Center by Monday morning had raised nearly $19,000 to repair the sign, more than the $15,000 goal, which would replace the sign and keep it safe from further destruction. More than 400 contributors gave funds.
Emmett Till became an icon in the Civil Rights Movement after the 14-year-old was kidnapped and brutally murdered by two White men for allegedly whistling at a White woman. They were found not guilty of the act, but later admitted to it.
After his death, Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, decided to have an open casket funeral for her son, photos of which Jet magazine ran, to show the world the barbaric violence of racism in America.
Thousands attended the Chicago funeral and many say Till Mobley’s action was a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement.
SOURCE: Emmett Till Interpretive Center | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty
This country never ceases to amaze.
Incredibly, a memorial sign that marks the place where a just-turned 14-year-old Emmett Till‘s mutilated body was discovered in a Mississippi river in 1955 is again riddled with bullet holes, according to a report by the New York Daily News.
We all mourn the tragic story of Till, a teen from Chicago visiting family in LeFlore County, Mississippi, who was kidnapped and brutally killed on August 28, 1955, for allegedly whistling at a White woman. His murderers, J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, were acquitted by an all-White jury but later confessed to his murder in Money, Miss.
According to History.com, Milam and Bryant—the White woman’s husband and her brother—made Emmett carry a 75-pound cotton-gin fan to the bank of the Tallahatchie River and ordered him to take off his clothes. The two men then beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head, broke many of his teeth, and then threw his body, tied to the cotton-gin fan with barbed wire, into the river.
The News reports that in 2007, the Emmett Till Memorial Commission erected eight site-markers, including a sign at the location where Till’s badly disfigured remains were recovered from the Tallahatchie River three days after he was murdered.
NYU graduate school film student Kevin Wilson, Jr., who is raising money for a short entitled “My Nephew Emmett,” posted a photo last week to Facebook of the river site sign with roughly 50 bullet holes in it, making the sign’s words nearly illegible.
The News reports that the sign had already been shot at least 20 times from different angles. It also reports that an “Emmett Till Memorial” roadside marker in Greenwood, Mississippi, was stolen in 2007 and the bullet-marked sign at the Tallahatchie River site was ripped down by vandals in 2008, just after it went up.
The Emmett Till Interpretive Center is raising money to replace the bullet-riddled sign and fund the Emmett Till Memory Project, which virtually guides users to 51 sites around the Mississippi Delta that played a significant role in the teen’s murder and trial. So far they’ve raised over $3,000 of its $15,000 goal.
To donate, please go to the Emmett Till Interpretive Center fundraiser page.