On August 28, 1955, 14-year old Emmett Till was kidnapped in the middle of the night from his uncle’s home near Money, Mississippi, by at least two men, one from LeFlore and one from Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. Till, a black youth from Chicago visiting family in Mississippi, was later murdered, and his body thrown into the Tallahatchie River. He had been accused of whistling at a white woman in Money. His badly beaten body was found days later in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. The Grand Jury meeting in Sumner, Mississippi, indicted Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam for the crime of murder. These two men were then tried on this charge and were acquitted by an all-white, all-male jury after a deliberation of just over an hour. Within three months of their acquittal the two men confessed to the murder. Before the trial began, Till’s mother had sought assistance from federal officials, under the terms of the so-called “Lindbergh Law,” which made kidnapping a federal crime, but received no aid. Only a renewed request in December 2002 from Till’s mother, supported by Mississippi District Attorney Joyce Chiles and the Emmett Till Justice Campaign, yielded a new investigation.
The Emmett Till Memorial Commission was established by the Tallahatchie County Board of Supervisors for the purpose of fostering racial harmony and reconciliation; to seek federal, state, and private funds and grants to initially restore the Tallahatchie County Courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi; to explore the restoration of other buildings and sites of historical value; and to promote educational tours of the courthouse and other sites in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi.
Video of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission and the unveiling of the first Emmett Till historical marker at the Sumner Courthouse:
The videos can also be viewed here.