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Medal legislation proposed for Emmett Till and mother

A congressional gold medal is being sought for Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley.

Emmett Till image at Wikipedia; casket image courtesy of The Guardian.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., reintroduced legislation Feb. 25 seeking a congressional gold medal recognizing Emmett Till, murdered in 1955 after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store, and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, for seeking justice in a case that helped trigger the civil rights movement.

“The heroic actions of Mamie Till-Mobley in the midst of evil, injustice, and grief became a catalyst for the civil rights movement and continued in the years to come as she worked for justice and honored the legacy of Emmett Till,” according to S.450. On Aug. 28, 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was kidnapped, beaten, and shot in Money, Mississippi, where he had traveled from Chicago to stay with his great uncle, Moses Wright,” the legislation states.

His accused murderers were acquitted despite Moses Wright providing an eyewitness testimony that the men on trial kidnapped Emmett Till.

Mamie Till-Mobley brought her son’s body back to Chicago for the funeral, for which Mrs. Till-Mobley demanded an open casket. The original casket of Emmett Till stands on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture as a reminder of the racial violence that is a part of the history of the United States that the people of the United States must confront.

If authorized, the congressional gold medal would be put on display at the museum.

Mrs. Till-Mobley’s relentless efforts through the Emmett Till Justice Campaign resulted in the passage of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007 and the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016.

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