Photograph: Emmett Till Interpretive Center
A sign riddled with bullet holes marks the spot where, in 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till’s mutilated body was pulled from Mississippi’s Tallahatchie River. Two white men lynched Till for allegedly flirting with a white woman. Site markers such as this one were defaced and replaced repeatedly until 2019, when a 500-pound steel sign—bulletproof and indestructible— was installed.
Emmett Till was lynched a few months after I graduated from high school. I remember the news stories – in most of the North – as clearly as anything else about that summer. The so-called trial of the men who murdered that 14-year-old Black youth found them Not Guilty.