WASHINGTON – The Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument became the country’s 425th national park today, on the 82ndanniversary of Till’s birth, as President Biden established the park through proclamation during a White House ceremony. The new national monument includes sites in the Mississippi Delta and Chicago that were central to Emmett Till’s lynching and funeral, the acquittal of his murderers and the subsequent activism by his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley.
Beginning today, visitor services will be provided by park rangers at Pullman National Historical Park in Chicago and in partnership with the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Mississippi. The Emmett Till Interpretive Center is open Tuesday - Saturday from 12-5 p.m. Central Time. Currently, only the exterior of the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ is open for visitors. Please respect the private property of the church. The Pullman National Historical Park visitor center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. Information about visiting and ranger-led programs will be available on the National Park Service’s (NPS) Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument website at www.nps.gov/TILL.
“Over the past two years, it has been my honor to visit the sites that help tell the story of Emmett and Mamie’s lives with the family and community members who loved them. President Biden’s establishment of this national monument is a testament to the strength and bravery of Mamie Till-Mobley to honor her son and ensure that his death was not in vain,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “We are honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of preserving their stories as part of our enduring effort to pursue a more perfect union.”
“President Biden’s establishment of the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument further cements Emmett and Mamie’s roles as heroes in America’s enduring pursuit of ‘a more perfect Union,’ and marks an important step in telling a more complete story of the African-American struggle for civil rights,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams. “Protecting these sites and stories helps ensure that the sacrifices borne by Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley will live on in public memory.”
Mamie Till-Mobley’s decision to hold an open-casket funeral for her 14-year-old son, Emmett— who was lynched on Aug. 28, 1955, for reportedly whistling at a white woman while visiting relatives in Mississippi — rocked the nation and helped spur the modern civil rights movement. Efforts by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Black press and others to help Till-Mobley investigate and amplify her son’s story caused the world to bear witness to the racially motivated violence and injustice that many Black people endured in the Jim Crow South. An all-white, all-male jury was selected and ultimately acquitted Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam. They later confessed to their crimes in a paid interview. No one was ever held legally accountable for Till's death.
The Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument includes Graball Landing in Glendora, Miss., the area that is believed to be the site where Till’s brutalized body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River; Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago, Ill., the site of Till’s widely attended open casket visitation and funeral; and the Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner, Miss., where Till’s murderers were tried and acquitted.
In addition to designating these three sites as a new national monument, the National Park Service will develop a plan in consultation with local communities, organizations and the public to support the interpretation and preservation of other key sites in Illinois and Mississippi that help tell the story of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley. This may include the Glendora Cotton Gin (currently known as the Emmett Till Historic Intrepid Center), Mound Bayou, the site of the Tutwiler Funeral Home and the Emmett Till Boyhood Home.
Many partners, including the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the National Park Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, Tallahatchie County and Walker Sturdivant were instrumental in the process of preparing properties for inclusion in the National Park System.
Maps are available at www.nps.gov/TILL.