President Joe Biden is expected to establish a national monument honoring Emmett and Mamie Till on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, according to NBC News.
Emmett Till’s brutal murder in Mississippi is seen as the event that sparked the civil rights movement in 1955 and his mother’s insistence on an open casket funeral made sure that no one could look away from what happened to her son.
The Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument is expected to comprise three sites in Illinois and Mississippi, according to a White House official. The official spoke anonymously because the White House has not made an official announcement regarding the monument’s creation.
Tuesday marks the birthday of Emmett Till in 1941, and the monument will protect places central to the story of Till’s life and tragic death at 14 at the hands of white men as well as his mother’s activism.
Jet Magazine published the now-famous photos of Till’s body lying in the casket, his young face deformed beyond recognition by a cotton gin. The plans for the memorial come at a time when conservatives are trying to rewrite history, Florida governor Ron DeSantis recently signed legislation that allows teachers to say that slaves benefited from being taught skills by their captors.
Vice President Kamala Harris responded to this development in a recent speech in Jacksonville: “How is it that anyone could suggest that in the midst of these atrocities that there was any benefit to being subjected to this level of dehumanization?”
Till’s monument will include Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Bronzeville, IL, a historically Black neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side where thousands gathered to mourn Till’s death; Graball Landing, where Till’s body is believed to have been pulled out of the Tallahatchie River; and the Tallahatchie County Second District Court, where Till’s murderers were acquitted by an all-white jury just a month after Till’s death.
The monument comes as there is a wave of backlash against diversity, inclusion, and equity practices that began as a response to the 2020 murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department.
Many of those positions are being eliminated, as Jamie Adasi told SHRM that the companies were engaging in “diversity theater”, that is, engaging in creating DEI positions for optics sake instead of any real commitment to the tenets of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Amy Hull, director of DEI at Paycor added, “If they weren’t invested for the right reasons to start when they created these positions and hiring, and it was more for optics, it’s of no surprise that they are removing these positions when no one is apparently watching.”