For the second time in just over a month, the sign memorializing lynching victim Emmett Till has been left riddled with bullet holes. CNN reports that the sign paying tribute to the African-American teenager, who was brutally murdered in 1955, stood for just 35 days before unknown vandals shot it repeatedly. The sign stands near the Tallahatchie River in Glendora, Mississippi where the 14-year-old’s body was recovered.
This is the third sign to mark where Till’s body was found. The original sign, placed in 2007, went missing the next year and was never found. The second sign was placed in 2016 and was pierced with bullet holes in multiple acts of vandalism over the following two years. Now that the latest sign has been vandalized, some members of the community are saying it should be left that way as a reminder of the viciousness behind Emmett Till’s murder.
Patrick Weems, co-founder of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, told CNN the community has ignored the brutality suffered by the teenager for too long.
“For 50 years, our community lived in silence, and there’s those who want to erase history. We’ve been through that.”
At this time, there have been no arrests and no suspects named in this latest round of vandalism. There were no leads reported in the cases surrounding the prior two signs and their vandalism, either. After being replaced last month, the second sign hangs in the Interpretive Center’s museum.
The death of Emmett Till was a seminal event in the Civil Rights movement. The teen was accused in the summer of 1955 of flirting with 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, a white woman. Four days later, Bryant’s husband, Roy, and his half-brother, J.W. Miliam, forced the teenager from his bed in the middle of the night. Till was viciously beaten, then shot in the head. His body was dumped in the river with a cotton gin wrapped around his neck with barbed wire.
A month after his body was found, both men stood trial. While they confessed to the kidnapping, they plead not guilty to charges of murder and were acquitted by an all-white jury. Both Bryant and Milian later confessed they killed Emmett Till, but could not be retried based on double jeopardy laws. The case has retained its infamy after 63 years in no small part because of the decision by Till’s mother to have an open casket funeral. The pictures of his mangled body appeared in Jet magazine and helped gain traction for the fledgling Civil Rights movement.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, the U.S. Justice Department decided last month to reopen the investigation into Till’s murder.