WASHINGTON (WBTV/AP) - Two senators have introduced legislation to posthumously award Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
GOP Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey say the Congressional Gold Medal is long overdue for the Till family.
“Emmett Till’s brutal murder, and his grieving mother Mamie’s incredible courage and resolve in its aftermath, galvanized the Civil Rights movement and changed our nation,” said Senator Burr. “That legacy is still felt today and honoring it is more important than ever. The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor. Awarding it posthumously to Emmett Till, and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, would be a long overdue recognition of what the Till family endured and what they accomplished in their fight against injustice. I am proud to work with Senator Booker on this effort.”
“Emmett Till’s gruesome murder by white supremacists was never vindicated by our justice system,” said Senator Booker. “While his lynching and the impunity that followed was unique in its horror, it revealed of the persistent legacy of racialized terror and violence waged against Black Americans and reflected the stain of racism and bigotry that this nation continues to struggle with today. The heroic patriotism his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, displayed in allowing the world to witness the unspeakable violence her son endured forced our nation to confront its collective failure to address the evil of racism. The Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor, is long-overdue recognition for Emmett and Mamie Till-Mobley’s legacy, and I am proud to introduce this legislation alongside Senator Burr.”
In 1955, Till was kidnapped, beaten, and lynched in Mississippi by white men who were later acquitted despite eyewitness testimony tying them to the killing.
Following Till’s death, his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, brought his body back to Chicago and demanded an open casket funeral with more than 50,000 attendees. Till-Mobley allowed a photograph to be taken of Till in his casket, which galvanized activists who were working for civil rights.