On Sept. 2, the Emmett Till Center discovered that another historical marker paying tribute to the slain-teen was tampered with as the sign had been toppled over ABC News notes. The incident occurred right outside of Bryant’s Grocery store in Money, Mississippi.
In May, a previous version of the metal sign was vandalized, and another Till historical marker was shot multiple times, the report notes. However, Allan Hammons, the advertising agency president behind the coveted statue, told The Associated Press he doesn’t believe the recent incident was done with malicious intent.
“It was not defaced in any way,” Hammons explained.
Hammons told news outlets that he believes the sign might have been uprooted due to railroad construction happening in the area. He thinks heavy equipment hit the pole, causing it to fall over late Monday or early Tuesday. After finding it on the ground Tuesday, Hammons said, Leflore County road crew put the sign into storage, adding that Till’s marker will be repaired or replaced by his firm Hammons & Associates.
Mr. Weems, a representative from the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, is reluctant to believe Hammons’ optimism of the incident citing that vandalism of the sign occurs far too often throughout the year.
“..We’re tired of this, you know?” Mr. Weems told the New York Times. “Regardless of whether this was an accident or not, there is a clear pattern of violence against these signs, and we think it’s time for the federal government to step up and take responsibility for this national American story.”
Till, a 14-year-old African American boy from Chicago, was abducted and killed in August 1955 while visiting relatives in Mississippi. The young boy’s body was discovered beaten and mutilated in the Tallahatchie River after he was accused of allegedly whistling at a white woman working at a store in the community of Money, just north of Greenwood.
His mother, Mamie Till Mobley, shocked the world when she left her son’s casket open during the funeral, allowing the world to see the aftermath of his gruesome beating. Jet Magazine published photos from the harrowing event, catapulting Till’s tragic passing into the forefront of the civil rights movement.
Reverend Wheeler Parker, Jr., Till’s cousin and the last living eyewitness to his kidnapping, shared a statement to CBS stating:
“We hope that this was not another act of vandalism, given the history of these signs commemorating Emmett being stolen, shot up, and defaced. We implore Congress to take action to protect these historic sites and this vital American story through creating an Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Park.”