A statue in honor of Emmett Till has been unveiled in Greenwood, Mississippi.
Emmett Till’s story will forever be remembered and is a prominent chapter in American Black history. His life has continued to be honored; his Chicago home is now a national landmark and the white house finally signed an anti-lynching act.
Now, 70 years later, Greenwood, Mississippi have decided to dedicate a statue to the young boy who was murdered for being falsely accused of “whistling at a white woman.” Mayor Carolyn McAdams said she hopes this statue brings a change of attitude and tolerance within the community. Stating, “I hope it shows that we can’t change the past, but we can certainly do something about the future. And so I hope it shows that we are compassionate, we are caring, and this should never, ever happen again.”
The $250,000, 9-foot tall bronze statue is located in Greenwood’s Rail Spike Park, not far from where the young boy was kidnapped after the false accusations. The statue depicts a young, joyful Till in slacks, a dress shirt, and a tie with one hand on the brim of a hat.
“I want us to look right and left to each other and say we need to do better in the spirit of young Emmett, the spirit of this memorial,” said U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, “We won’t let his death be in vain.”
All members of the community came out to witness the statue unveiling, which brought many emotions as the song, “Wake Up, Everybody,” played. Hundreds applauded while some people had to wipe their tears, such as Anna-Maria Webster who said, “It’s beautiful to be here.”
The message behind the statue is already being felt by the youth as well. Madison Harper, a senior at Leflore County High School, stated, “Change has come, and it will continue to happen. Decades ago, our parents and grandparents could not envision that a moment like today would transpire.”
Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., who saw Till the night he was taken and is Till’s only remaining family member, told ABC News, “This is a great day as we take another leap forward in recognizing the life and legacy of Emmett Till.”
This is a wonderful moment and we hope everyone gets a chance to see the statue in person and feel the history!
Photo: SCOTT OLSON/GETTY