Emmett Till Memorial Mysteriously Removed Days After Murder Anniversary

A historic marker commemorating Emmett Till has reportedly gone missing in the town of Money, Mississippi, just days after the 66th anniversary of his murder on August 28.

Till, a 14-year-old African American, was murdered during a visit to Mississippi in 1955 in a lynching that proved a catalyst for the Civil Rights movement. Signs honoring him have been subject to vandalism in the past but it is not clear what happened to the marker in question.

The Emmett Till Interpretive Center shared a photo of the location with the missing marker through its official Twitter account on Thursday and noted that this week marks the anniversary of his murder.

The center wrote: "Today, we found out that the Emmett Till historical marker in front of Bryant's Grocery in Money, MS, is missing. It appears to have been hit by a vehicle and removed."

The marker in question laid out the events surrounding Till's visit to the store and his murder.

In 1955, Till entered Bryant's Grocery to buy candy. A white shopkeeper, Carolyn Bryant, accused him of flirting with her or whistling at her.

Bryant's husband and his half-brother soon kidnapped Till and his tortured body was later found in the Tallahatchie River. Both men were acquitted at trial but later sold their confessions to Life magazine.

"The signs dedicated to the memory of Emmett Till have been stolen, thrown in the river, replaced, shot, defaced with acid, and spray painted with the letters 'KKK,'" the Emmet Till Interpretative Center tweeted on Thursday.

The signs dedicated to the memory of Emmett Till have been stolen, thrown in the river, replaced, shot, defaced with acid, and spray painted with the letters “KKK.” pic.twitter.com/3iFqVGYWG5

— TillNationalPark.org (@EmmeTillcenter) September 2, 2021

"This week also marks the 66th anniversary of the brutal murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till—an event that helped spark the Civil Rights Movement. It is hard to understand how it can be so difficult to honor the memory of a murdered child—even today," the center said.

As the center pointed out, signs marking the events of Till's death have frequently been the subject of vandalism and at least one has been shot. However, there is currently no evidence that marker outside Bryant's Grocery was a target for vandalism.

Patrick Weems, executive director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, issued a statement to Newsweek on Friday.

"At this point we are still gathering more information about the missing sign. Unfortunately memorials to the 14-year-old-child have been shot, defaced with acid, thrown in the Tallahatchie River, and have had KKK sprayed on them. So we are taking this missing sign seriously," Weems said.

"One solution is for a National Historic Park designation so that Bryant's Grocery and other Till sites will be protected by the federal government," he said. "We are asking all members of the public to sign our petition to create a National Park honoring Emmett Till and [Till's mother] Mamie Till-Mobley."

Just this week, a bullet-riddled sign that used to mark the location where Till's body was found will go on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Till's cousin, Wheeler Parker Jr., visited the exhibition on Thursday. He was present in 1955 when Till was kidnapped and told NBC Washington about the experience of that night when a mob searched the house where they were staying.

"In they walk, pistol in one hand, flashlight in the other, and I closed my eyes to be shot," Parker said.

"They went on to the second room, and they found Emmett there, took him. That was the last time I saw him alive," he said.

The marker outside the former Bryant's Grocery was erected in 2011 as the first part of the Mississippi Freedom Trail. These state-funded signs are designed to mark significant civil rights sites.

The sign was vandalized in 2017 and had to be repaired. The store itself has long been derelict.

UPDATE 09/03/21 6.20am E.T.: This article was updated to include a statement from the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.

A Protest Sign Honors Emmett Till
A woman holds a sign in honor of Emmett Till during a protest on June 13, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. A historic marker commemorating Till's death has reportedly gone missing from a site in Mississippi. Natasha Moustache/Getty Images