Students Carry Bullet-Riddled Sign Honoring Emmett Till

These students carried the vandalized memorial sign for Emmett Till, a teenager who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, and laid it at the base of a Confederate statue on their campus.

The trial galvanized the modern civil rights movement

These students carried the vandalized memorial sign for Emmett Till to the base of the Confederate statue on campus. It was in the middle of the night in 1955 when Emmett Till, a 14-year-old buy, was lynched in Mississippi. Till, a native of Chicago, was visiting relatives in Mississippi when he had a fateful encounter with a white woman named Carolyn Bryant. Till's murder and the fallout from the trial galvanized the modern civil rights movement. University of Mississippi students, Tyler Yarbrough, Curtis Hills, Isabell Spafford, Yasmine Malone started the group, the Emmett Till Legacy Alliance, in 2018 and held a student panel before walking the sign to the statue.

This is the fourth sign that the commission has placed at the site. The first was swiped in 2008, and no arrests were ever made in connection with the incident. The replacement marker was vandalized with bullets, more than 100 rounds over the course of several years. Just 35 days after it was erected in 2018, the third sign was shot at as well. The third memorial made headlines recently when Jerry Mitchell of the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, in conjunction with ProPublica, revealed that three University of Mississippi students had been suspended from their fraternity house after posing in front of the sign with guns, in a photo that was posted to the private Instagram account of one of the students. The Justice Department is reportedly investigating the incident.

The sign has now been taken down, and a new one is “on its way,” Patrick Weems, executive director of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission said according to CBS News. Chavez, Savidge and Sayers of CNN report that the replacement memorial will weigh 600 pounds and be made of reinforced steel. This bulletproof sign was erected and is expected to be open to the public by the Tallahatchie River in October 2019.