The tragic death of Emmett Till and the strength and resolve of his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, catalyzed the modern civil rights movement. A national park site will ensure that their story is never forgotten.

Emmett Till’s story is one of the most shocking hate crimes in American history.

In August 1955, 14-year-old Emmett traveled from Chicago to Money, Mississippi, to visit relatives. A few days after his arrival, a white woman named Carolyn Bryant accused him of making sexual advances toward her. Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother J.W. Milam later kidnapped Emmett at gunpoint, and Emmett’s disfigured, brutally beaten body was later found in the nearby Tallahatchie River.

Magazine Article

Mississippi Reckoning

Emmett Till was murdered 64 years ago. Is it time for a national park that recognizes him and tells the story of the civil rights struggle in Mississippi?

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On hearing the news of Emmett’s murder, his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, demanded that officials return his body to their home in Chicago for the funeral and that the casket remain open during the viewing and service, insisting, “Let the world see what I’ve seen.”

Mamie’s efforts to publicize the murder and its injustice forced people around the country and the world to confront the brutality of racism, sparking international outrage.

An all-white, all-male jury acquitted Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam of all charges. In a magazine interview, both men later admitted to the murder. Mamie Till-Mobley devoted herself to public speaking, connecting with other mothers of slain Black children, and teaching students history and confidence until her death in 2003.

The story of Emmett and Mamie is critical to telling the full story of the modern civil rights movement. NPCA has been working with members of the Till family, the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Institute, the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Latham & Watkins LLP to create a new park site in the Mississippi Delta that will honor the Till family and ensure their story is never forgotten. Together, we’re calling on Congress to establish an Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Historical Park.

Special thanks to the Emmett Till Interpretive Center for video footage.

The park could include the Tallahatchie County Courthouse where Emmett Till’s murder trial took place. The Emmett Till Interpretive Center is headquartered near the courthouse and operates a museum telling Emmett’s story. The Park Service could determine that other landmarks are also appropriate for inclusion in the national park site.

Women of the Movement

In January 2022, ABC will release a TV series, “Women of the Movement,” honoring Mamie Till-Mobley and other female leaders in the civil rights movement. Tune in and join NPCA in calling on all Americans to push for the creation of a national park site that will do justice to the story of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley. Sign our petition here.

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