November 4, 2019
White supremacists gathered at Emmett Till’s bulletproof memorial to shoot a videoBreaking News
tags: civil rights, Emmett Till, protests, White Supremacy
Guardians of Emmett Till’s memorial have gotten used to the site’s desecration — so used to it that a new, bulletproof plaque dedicated two weeks ago acknowledges the repeated abuse as an essential part of Till’s story.
“Signs erected here have been stolen, thrown in the river, shot, removed, replaced, and shot again,” the monument tells those who visit the Tallahatchie River, where the black 14-year-old was found 64 years ago, killed by white men who were never convicted. The litany of damage is a “reminder of the progress yet to be made,” the latest marker says.
So Till’s cousin Airickca Gordon-Taylor wasn’t surprised this weekend to learn about the latest outrage. A white-supremacist group had gathered in front of the memorial to shoot a video.
Gordon-Taylor says she felt a familiar anger at another testament to the racism “alive today in the fabric of our United States of America.” But there was also a feeling of resolve.
“They can keep coming, and the more they do, we can do more,” Gordon-Taylor told The Washington Post.
The visit by white nationalists to Till’s memorial has provoked a new round of dismay, at the way a remembrance of horrific injustice could be a magnet for those who promote bigotry. Till’s torture and lynching — he was accused of flirting with a white woman in a grocery store, a charge the woman would largely recant — helped galvanize the civil rights movement.
“It has always been a pilgrimage site for people who care about social justice,” said Dave Tell, a historian who wrote a book about Till as well as the latest monument’s inscription. “And now it seems to be becoming a pilgrimage site for hate groups.”