A statue now stands in the city of Greenwood honoring the memory of Emmett Till, unveiled decades after the 14-year-old was kidnapped and murdered by white men in the Mississippi Delta.
Emmett Till statue unveiled in Greenwood
The nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Emmett Till is located in downtown Greenwood, not far from where the Black teenager was kidnapped in 1955. Till’s death helped to spark the civil rights movement across the nation, and Mississippi’s second district Congressman Bennie Thompson says this statue is a reminder of the need to move forward.
“It was because of his untimely death and a number of other circumstances, things have started to change. But change has a way of becoming slower,” says Thompson. “So what we have to do is recommit ourselves to the spirit of making a difference in our community.”
This is the first statue constructed in Till’s image, although there are two roadside markers about Till’s murder in nearby communities. Both have been targets for repeated vandalism despite efforts to make them national monuments. Senator David Jordan of Greenwood attended the trial of Till, and was key in helping pass legislation that allocated $150,000 for the project. He says that state ownership of the monument brings state-level protections.
Senator Jordan says “I want everybody to know that this is state money. If some idiot tears it down, we’re gonna put it right back up. And somebody going to jail. We’re tired of this foolishness.”
While there have been renewed calls for justice in Till’s death, no one has been convicted for his murder.