A new statue dedicated to Emmett Till and the civil rights movement was revealed Friday by the Mississippi community.
The dedication of Till’s statue took place in Greenwood’s Rail Spike Park, near the area where the 14-year-old was abducted and lynched by white men for allegedly flirting and offending a white woman in a grocery store in 1955.
According to NBC News, the bronze statue stands nine feet tall and portrays Till in slacks, a dress shirt, and tie with one hand on the brim of a hat sculpted on top of his head. The sculpture is also located within a short distance from a Confederate monument outside the Leflore County Courthouse.
A Mississippi community unveiled a larger-than-life statue of Emmett Till on Friday. https://t.co/hxaCom4MIm
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 22, 2022
“It’s beautiful to be here,” said Anna-Maria Webster of Rochester, New York, who was full of tears during the ceremony. “Just to imagine the torment she went through—all over a lie,” she said in sympathy toward Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley.
As the statue was unveiled, the rhythm and blues song “Wake Up, Everybody” played while observers gathered around and captured photos and videos of Till.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the only Black member of Mississippi’s current congressional delegation, said there were no Black elected officials in Mississippi during the time of Till’s lynching.
“But you, know, change has a way of becoming slower and slower,” said Thompson. “What we have to do in dedicating this monument to Emmett Till is recommit ourselves to the spirit of making a difference in our community.”
Arkansas Online reports that Black officials have worked for years in an effort to bring the statue to reality as both communities, Greenwood and Leflore County, are 70% Black. Democratic state Sen. David Jordan of Greenwood secured $150,000 in state funding for the Till statue and the community designated Utah artist, Matt Glenn, to create the statue.
The Till statue in Greenwood will be monitored by security cameras.