National monument will honor Emmett Till, Mamie Till-Mobley

President Biden on July 25 — what should have been Emmett Till’s 82nd birthday — signed a proclamation creating the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument.

Till, a Black Chicago native, was 14 years old in 1955 when at least two white men lynched him in segregated Mississippi after a white woman accused him of flirting with her. Nobody was held legally accountable for Till’s murder, a tragedy that helped galvanize the Civil Rights Movement.

“We should know … the truth of who we are as a nation,” Biden said. “… For only with truth comes healing, justice, repair, and another step forward toward forming a more perfect union.”

Large crowd gathering outside church for Emmett Till's funeral (© George Quinn/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Getty Images)
Emmett Till’s funeral, which took place at the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago September 3, 1955, attracted more than 125,000 people. (© George Quinn/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Getty Images)

The national monument will comprise three historic sites:

  • Graball Landing near Glendora, Mississippi, where authorities found Till’s mutilated body.
  • Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago, where Mamie Till-Mobley held an open-casket funeral for her son to “let the people see what I’ve seen.”
  • The Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi, where two of Till’s killers were put on trial. An all-white jury acquitted the killers, who later admitted to lynching Till.

“As patriots, we know that we must remember and teach our full history, even when it is painful — especially when it is painful,” Vice President Harris said at the proclamation signing.