Emmett Till Mississippi civil rights memorial vandalised for second time in two months

The black teenager was lynched by a white mob

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Tuesday 27 June 2017 18:47
The marker is one of several memorialising the murdered 14-year-old
The marker is one of several memorialising the murdered 14-year-old

An sign marking the site where black teenager was accused of whistling at a white woman - something that would subsequently result in him being lynched - has been vandalised for the second time in two months.

The marker on the Mississippi Freedom Trail was damaged last month when someone scratched on it. Now, it has been reported that someone peeled off the back of the marker that contained photographs and information about the murdered 14-year-old.

Allan Hammons, whose company manages the Mississippi Freedom Trail, more than a dozen signs established in 2011 to mark seminal moments and locations in the civil rights movements, said the incident was deeply disturbing.

This photograph was taken by his mother on Christmas Day, 1954, about eight months before his murder.

“This site is a significant moment in the civil rights movement,” he told the Associated Press. “People were outraged and shocked at this incredible criminal act. What Mississippi chose to do by creating the freedom trail was committing themselves to telling the unvarnished truth.”

The killing of the teenager and its aftermath, secured national attention when the boy’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, insisted on holding an open-casket funeral in Chicago and inviting the media to see how her child had been so badly brutalised while on a visit the Mississippi Delta.

The AP said the damaged sign is located outside the long-closed Bryants Grocery & Meat Market in Greenwood, where a 21-year-old white shopkeeper, Carolyn Bryant, said the teenager had whistled at her in August 1955.

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The youngster was kidnapped and killed because of her accusation. An all-white jury acquitted Bryant’s husband, Roy Bryant, and his half brother, JW Milam, in the killing, but the two men later confessed in a paid interview with Look magazine.

A separate Emmett Till marker, near the site where his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River several miles away, has been repeatedly shot over the year. Mr Hammons said the Freedom Trail marker cost more than $8,000, and repairs will cost at least $500.

Roy and Carolyn Bryant divorced. He and Mr Milam have since died. She remarried and became Carolyn Donham.

She told Timothy Tyson, a Duke University research scholar, in 2008 that she falsely testified, when jurors were outside the courtroom, that the black youngster had physically and verbally threatened her. Mr Tyson first revealed her interview in The Blood of Emmett Till, a book he published this year.

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