Emmett Till

Photo via ContributorQ/Wikimedia Commons WhisperToMe/Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY) Remix by Samantha Grasso

Vandals scrape Emmett Till’s biography from historical Mississippi marker

This is the second time in 9 months a Till memorial has been vandalized.


Samantha Grasso


Published Jun 27, 2017   Updated May 23, 2021, 1:44 am CDT

A Mississippi historical marker for Emmett Till has been vandalized, the second targeted attack on memorials for the black teenager in nine months.

According to the Associated Press, the Jackson, Mississippi marker had been scratched with a blunt tool in May, removing the vinyl panels off the back that contained photos and words about the 14-year-old’s kidnapping and brutalization in 1955. It wasn’t until this past week that a tour group discovered the panel’s peeling, according to Allan Hammons, whose public relations firm made the marker.

The sign, erected in 2011, was part of the Mississippi Freedom Trail, a state-funded project that marked significant civil rights sites across Mississippi. It stands outside of the run-down Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, where Carolyn Bryant, a white shopkeeper, said Till had whistled at her in August 1955. Bryant’s husband and his half brother then kidnapped Till, tortured, and killed him.

The men were acquitted by an all-white jury, though the men later confessed in a paid magazine interview. In 2008, Bryant admitted to a Duke University research scholar that she made up her accusations against Till.

According to Hammons, the marker cost more than $8,000 to make and will cost at least $500 to repair.

This is the second sign memorializing Till to have been targeted in the past year. In October, the sign marking the site where Till’s body was found in the Tallahatchie River was found sprayed with bullet holes.

H/T New York Daily News

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*First Published: Jun 27, 2017, 8:25 am CDT