Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley: Let the World See
November 19, 2022 - January 8, 2023$15.00
Emmett Till, a Black 14-year-old youth from Chicago, was visiting family in Money, Mississippi when he was kidnapped from his great-uncle’s home and savagely beaten and murdered by a group of white men on August 28, 1955. Weighted by a cotton gin fan, his lifeless body was thrown into the Tallahatchie River and was found three days later. His torture and murder were retaliation for violating the social mores of the Deep South by whistling at a white woman in a grocery store. Two white men accused of brutally murdering the young 14-year-old Emmett were acquitted by an all-white jury in 67 minutes. For Emmett’s funeral, his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, insisted that the coffin containing his body be left open. She wanted the world to see what was unjustly done to her son. Over 100,000 people viewed his body at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago over three days. Photographs of his mutilated body circulated internationally, and people stood up who had never stood up before. Emmett’s story and Mamie’s activism served as catalysts to the Civil Rights Movement.
The Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley Institute, the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the Till family, and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis are creating a national touring exhibit to share the tragic story of American racism—past and present—and the story of communities committed to racial healing.
This fall, a vandalized roadside sign that marked a child’s murder will travel across the country. The subject matter is difficult, but the creators of the exhibit, the Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley Institute, the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the Till family, and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, believe it is vital to educate families on what has happened in the past in hopes of fostering racial harmony and reconciliation today.
Because of the difficult subject matter, this exhibit is recommended for children 10 and older, and those between 10 and 18 years of age should be accompanied by an adult.
This project was made possible in part by The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom, The Maddox Foundation, The Institute for Museum and Library Services, The Historic Preservation Fund and the National Park Service.