“The Emmett Till Memorial Commission has been working for 15 years to change the physical and cultural landscape of Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, and the road to remember has not been easy,” said Patrick Weems, executive director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center. “So it is with great appreciation that we are partnering with the Smithsonian to honor and remember Emmett Till and the struggle that our community has faced to commemorate his life and legacy and to create the conditions for racial healing.”
A panel discussion, “The Long Battle: The Work of Preserving Emmett Till’s History,” with the Rev. Wheeler Parker, Till’s cousin, Tallahatchie community leaders and Till scholar Dave Tell of the University of Kansas will explore the efforts and challenges to preserve Till’s memory. It will be recorded on-site at the museum and featured along with short videos of several community leaders on its YouTube channel beginning Sept. 3.
Then, in the fall of 2008, the commission replaced it with another marker, but that, too, was shot at and defaced: By 2016, someone had riddled the second replacement sign with 317 bullet holes. The sign was so badly damaged that “you could barely read any of any of the letters on it,” says Patrick Weems, the executive director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, a museum in Sumner, Mississippi. The commission eventually removed the illegible second sign and displayed it at the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.
Photo © Suzi Altman