According to NBC News, the group was caught by surveillance cameras at the memorial site. It shows two people filming them as one guy gives a speech. One of the people is toting a neo-Confederate flag while another person is holding a black St. Andrews cross, which is a symbol that officials said were tied to another neo-Confederate group called the League of the South in Alabama.
The Southern Poverty Law Center categorizes the League of the South as a hate group that has “increasingly embraced violence, criticized perceived Jewish power and warned black people that they would be defeated in a future race war.”
In the surveillance video, one guy can be heard identifying the sign dedicated to Till as a monument representing the “civl rights movement for Blacks.” He then continues, “What we want to know is, where are all of the white people?”
In another clip, the group scrambles for their cars when sirens go off, which is a newly added security feature to the memorial site.
Patrick Weems, the executive director of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission, said that the surveillance footage is also a new feature that was updated when the bulletproof memorial was erected on October 19.
“This is the first incident we’ve seen of what appears to be white nationalists making a propaganda video,” Weems said. The footage was eventually transferred to the Sumner Courthouse and Emmett Till Interpretive Center Facebook page on Saturday. The memorial location has been monitored by the Tallahatchie County Sheriff’s Office since the incident.
Signs remembering Till have been vandalized and even shot up multiple times since the first memorial was erected in 2007, according to the commission. The latest bulletproof sign, which is the fourth Till memorial in the area, was installed to replace a sign that had been “riddled with 20 bullet holes.”
Till — who was only 14 years old when he was kidnapped, tortured and brutally murdered by two white men in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman — was a crucial figure in accelerating the Civil Rights movement for Black Americans. Till was visiting relatives when he was kidnapped then found dead in the Tallahatchie River days later.
The memorial commission recently launched the Emmett Till Memory Project, which is an app that uses GPS markers at historic sites to detail the story of Emmett Till. The landowner who owned the farm by the river where Till’s body was discovered has also donated the land where the memorial commission hopes to build another memorial site if funds are raised.
“We want to respond to this hate speech by continuing to do this work,” Weems said.
Since the white supremacist demonstration, Weems says donations for the commission’s current projects have surged. He told CBS News that they have received more than $10,000 since Saturday. They plan to use these funds for the Memory Project and the new memorial site.