On August 31, 1955, Woodrow Jackson prepared Emmett Till’s body here at the Tutwiler Funeral Home to return to Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, in Chicago. Emmett’s uncle, Crosby Smith, had to sign a document promising not to open the casket. Once the body reached Chicago, Mamie Till-Mobley defied that order, promising to show the world what was done to her son. The public outcry over the condition of Emmett’s mutilated body is considered to be one of the main sparks that ignited the Civil Rights Movement.
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