To date, the story of Emmett Louis Till raises enormous concerns, especially in consideration of the harsh realities Black people face.
Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of whistling to a white woman in her family's grocery store; he was only 14-year-old. Although the incident sparked wild outrage and propelled the civil rights movement, the men who carried out the act were discharged and acquainted by an all-white jury.
On Sept. 9, 2020, 65 years after the terrible event, Emmett Till's childhood home was granted preliminary landmark status in the United States of America. The Commission on Chicago Landmarks granted preliminary landmark status Thursday to the home of Emmett Till at 6427 S. St. Lawrence Ave. in Woodlawn.
The home at 6427 S. St. Lawrence in Woodlawn is where the teen lived before the trip Down South that ended with his brutal lynching on Aug. 28, 1955.
Observers have termed the landmark status decision a bittersweet milestone in the years-long journey of preservationists and the Till family.
"I am grateful for the efforts to preserve the memory of my cousin Emmett Till. He speaks from the grave," Till's cousin, the Rev. Wheeler Parker, 81, of Summit wrote in his testimony read to commissioners.
While visiting relatives in Mississippi, the 14-year-old was kidnapped from his uncle's home in the middle of the night by the husband of the lady he was accused of harassing and his half-brother.
Till's battered body was recovered three days later from the Tallahatchie River, barbed wire wrapped around his neck, face beaten beyond recognition, his body weighted down with a cotton gin fan.
"Sixty-five years ago, he was brutally murdered, and no one has paid for it. Justice can have many faces, and preserving the home of Emmett Till is a face of justice. He deserves to be remembered in this positive way," wrote Parker, the last living witness to the horrific events of 1955.
At age 16, Parker had accompanied Till on the train from Chicago, was with him at the grocery store, and in the home that night when Till was abducted at gunpoint.
The accused, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, were acquitted at trial of murdering Till. However, in a turn of events, both men later confessed to murdering Till in the Jan. 24, 1956 issue of Look Magazine.
Six decades later, Carolyn Bryant Donham – the white lady whom Emmett Till was accused of whistling at, admitted that she lied and that the teen had done nothing, in an interview for the 2017 book "The Blood of Emmett Till."
Neither the accused, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, nor Carolyn Bryant Donham faced any charges after their confession as prosecutors claimed they had already been discharged before the admissions.
Do you think granting landmark status to Emmett Till's childhood home is enough justice, especially considering that Carolyn Bryant Donham is still alive? What are your thoughts?
Credit: Times, History, Chicago Sun