President Joe Biden will sign a proclamation on Tuesday to establish the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument, honoring the memory of Emmett Till, a Black teenager who was abducted, tortured, and killed in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. The monument will span three sites in Illinois and Mississippi, including the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, Graball Landing in Mississippi (where Till’s body was found), and the Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner (where his killers were acquitted).
Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement by insisting on an open casket funeral to expose the brutality her son endured and by allowing Jet magazine to publish photos of his mutilated body. The monument aims to protect these locations that are central to Till’s life, his tragic death, and his mother’s activism.
President Biden’s decision to establish the monument comes at a time of heightened racial tensions in the United States. Conservative leaders have been opposing the teaching of slavery and Black history in public schools, as well as diversity and inclusion programs. Vice President Kamala Harris recently criticized a revised Black history curriculum in Florida that suggested enslaved people benefited from their enslavement.
This will be the fourth national monument created by President Biden since taking office in 2021. It follows his hosting of a screening of the movie “Till” for Black History Month and the signing of the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act into law in March 2022. The Justice Department closed its investigation into Till’s killing in December 2021.