Biden designates new Emmett Till monument as debates over U.S. history intensify

221028 emmett till mamie till al 1133 27df47

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday honored Emmett Till, the Black teenager whose 1955 killing helped galvanize the Civil Rights movement, and his mother with a national monument spanning two states and a call for Americans to learn the country’s full history.

Till, 14 and visiting from Chicago, was beaten, shot and mutilated in Money, Mississippi, on Aug. 28, 1955, four days after a 21-year-old white woman accused him of whistling at her. His body was dumped in a river.

The violent killing put a spotlight on the U.S. civil rights cause after his mother, Mamie Till-Bradley, held an open-casket funeral and a photo of her son’s badly disfigured body appeared in Black media.

The national monument designation across 5.7 acres and three sites marks a forceful new effort by the president to memorialize the country’s bloody racial history even as Republicans in some states push limits on how that past is taught.