RESPECT: Biden announces monument in tribute to Emmett Till

RESPECT: Biden announces monument in tribute to Emmett Till

The teenager’s 1955 murder highlighted the horrors of racially biased vigilantism and a two-tiered justice system.

Emmett Till was only 14 years old when white men decided that the Black teenager had committed the “crime” of making sexual advances at a white woman — and appointed themselves vigilante judges, jury, and executioners.

Over nearly 70 years, no one has been brought to justice, but President Joe Biden is making efforts to honor and memorialize Till.

Biden is announcing a monument to Till, and to his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, for their roles in bolstering the Civil Rights movement.

Till-Mobley opted for an open casket for her son, and the publication of a photo, letting the world see what had been done to a child in the name of racial hatred — a body that had been so abused that Till had to be identified by a ring he wore.

The monument will have three sites, two in Mississippi, where Till was visiting family when he was murdered, and one in Chicago, where he lived, and where his funeral was held.

The Mississippi sites will include both the river where his body was found and the courthouse where an all-white jury allowed the men accused of killing him to walk free. The New York Times reports:

“Emmett’s murder and the subsequent activism of his mother helped propel the civil rights movement, and Mr. Biden will memorialize both individuals when he signs a proclamation naming the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument.”

The murderers, Roy Bryant (whose wife, Carolyn, made the accusation against Till) and his half-brother J.W. Milam admitted their deeds — once they’d been acquitted and were safe from retrial — and told a magazine journalist the details of torturing and killing the innocent child.

They died without ever facing consequences.

As for Carolyn Bryant, it was revealed in a 2017 book that she’d recanted her allegations, according to History.

In 2022, she confessed this publicly, admitting that she had made it up, and a movement followed to bring her to justice for her role, but a Grand Jury declined to bring charges, and she died in April 2023 without ever facing justice, either.

A monument to Till — who would have turned 82 on Tuesday, July 25th, the date Biden is expected to make the announcement —- won’t bring justice to his killers, either, but will acknowledge the injustice, and ensure America never forgets.

Stephanie Bazzle

Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here: