Vandals scrape words off historic Emmett Till sign in Mississippi

Posted June 28, 2017

The historical marker outside the grocery store where 14-year-old Till was accused of whistling at a white woman while visiting his family has to be refurbished due to the damage by vandals, said Allan Hammons, whose company manages the Mississippi Freedom Trail.

More than six decades later, the vandalism of the grocery store sign is not unique; a number of civil rights markers have been vandalized in MS in recent years, reports The Clarion Ledger.

The trail showcases a series of state-funded markers located at civil rights sites. And then, over the weekend, someone had peeled off the back of the marker, which contained vital photos and information about the infamous 1955 case.

Hammons said it is unknown if the vandalism was racially motivated or just a random crime. "Vandals have been around since the beginning of time".

Emmett Till Memorial in Money, Miss.

This is the second sign memorializing Till to have been targeted in the past year.

Till's mother, refusing to cover up the horror of what happened, insisted upon an open casket at her son's funeral.

"Thousands of people attended, and gruesome photographs of his disfigured body were published in newspapers and magazines around the country", The Washington Post's Derek Hawkins wrote in 2016.

In The Blood of Emmett Till, Carolyn Donham tells author Timothy B. Tyson, that she gave testimony about Till grabbing her around the waist and using obscenities, "but that part is not true". According to the AP, the memorial cost more than $8,000, and repairs will amount to at least $500.

Cultural Leadership, a group of St. Louis high school students, visited the area on Sunday, and quickly covered the vandalized sign with text of their own.

"These are easy targets, a low-risk outlet for racism", Dave Tell, an associate professor at the University of Kansas and part of the Emmett Till Memory Project, told the Clarion-Ledger in October.