The harrowing murder of Emmett Till amplified brutal truths surrounding the realities of racism in America, sparking a movement rooted in the fight for racial justice. Nearly 67 years after his horrific death, Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, are posthumously being honored with a Congressional Gold Medal, NBC News reported.
The bill was created to pay homage to the legacy of the Chicago-born teenager who lost his life at the hands of white supremacists. In 1955, while visiting his family in rural Mississippi, 14-year-old Till was abducted from his grand-uncle’s house and brutally murdered after being falsely accused of whistling at a white woman at a local grocery store. An all-white, all-male jury acquitted his murderers who later confessed to the crime in an interview with Look magazine.
Disheartened and dismayed by the death of her son, Till-Mobley decided to have an open casket during his funeral services, which were attended by thousands of people, so the world could see the gruesome impact of racism. The medal recognizes Till-Mobley’s bravery and dedication to advancing social justice within the U.S.
The Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2021—which was introduced by Senators Cory Booker and Richard Burr—was passed by the Senate on Wednesday. It was sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush, who also supported efforts to create a postage stamp in honor of Till’s mother.
“The courage and activism demonstrated by Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, in displaying to the world the cruelty endured by her son helped awaken the nation’s conscience, forcing America to reckon with our failure to address racism and the glaring injustices that stem from such hatred,” Booker shared in a statement, according to The Hill. “Now more than six decades after his murder, I am proud to see the House pass long-overdue legislation that would award the Congressional Gold Medal to both Emmett and Mamie Till-Mobley in recognition of their contributions to advancing racial justice in our nation.”
The medal will be exhibited at the Washington, DC-based National Museum of African American History and Culture.
News about the Congressional Gold Medal comes nearly a year after Emmett Till’s Chicago home was named a landmark.