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White House to establish the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument in Mississippi and Illinois


Last week, President Joe Biden signed a proclamation to establish a new national monument dedicated to Emmett Till, the young teen who was brutally murdered in 1955 at the age of 14, along with his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, whose activism in the wake of her son’s death at the hands of a white mob helped spark the civil rights movement. 

Biden signed the proclamation on what would have been Till’s 82nd birthday

Before the signing of the proclamation, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke and emphasized the importance of remembering the country’s “full history” amid the backdrop of many efforts by some lawmakers to ban books and restrict what can be taught in public schools.  

Biden described what happened to Till as “barbaric,” while Harris described it as “an act of astonishing violence.”

Biden said, “At a time when there are those who seek to ban books, bury history, we’re making it clear — crystal, crystal clear — while darkness and denialism can hide much, they erase nothing,”. “We can’t just choose to learn what we want to know. We have to learn what we should know. … We should know everything: the good, the bad, the truth of who we are as a nation. That’s what great nations do.” 

Two states, Mississippi and Illinois, will encompass the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument. 

The locations selected for the monument are a Tallahatchie River bank in Mississippi, where the teenager’s body was found; the Tallahatchie County Courthouse in Sumner, Miss., where those accused of killing him were acquitted by an all-white jury; and the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago, where Till’s funeral was held and his mother allowed the undertakers to show his mutilated corpse.

Biden said of Till’s mother, ”Insisting on an open casket for her murdered and, I might add, maimed and mutilated son, she said, ‘Let the people see what I’ve seen. Let the people see what I have seen.’ My God … it’s hard to fathom. But today, on what would have been Emmett’s 82nd birthday, we add another chapter in the story of remembrance and healing.”

“The designation reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s work to advance civil rights and commitment to protecting places that help tell a more complete story of our nation’s history,”  said the White House.


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