After years of repeated vandalism the marker in Mississippi dedicated to civil rights icon Emmett Till, is now bulletproof.
The new sign is the fourth and was dedicated on Saturday by the The Emmett Till Memorial Commission, after being vandalized by gunfire earlier this year, according to Fox News. The first was thrown in the river. The second and third signs were shot at and became riddled with bullet holes.
Till was a 14-year-old Black teenager from Chicago visiting his family in Money, Mississippi in 1955 when he was kidnapped for allegedly whistling at and grabbing Carolyn Bryant, a white woman in a local market. Till was then beaten, shot, and lynched with a cotton gin fan and left in the Tallahatchie River.
The two suspects in Till’s murder were Bryant’s husband and her brother-in-law. Both men were acquitted by an all-white jury at the time.
The new marker is made of steel and is 10 times heavier than the previous ones. It can be found near the Tallahatchie River where Till’s body was found days after his gruesome death, according to the Huffington Post.
“This marker answers the question as to what we do with our history. Do we learn from it? Do we use it to help our society have greater respect for humanity? This answers that,” Rev. Willie Williams, co-director of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission, said about the memorial.
The last living witness to Till’s 1955 kidnapping is his cousin Rev. Wheeler Parker, who attended the ceremony with another cousin and her daughter, Fox News reported.
Till’s murder has served as a pivotal part of the civil rights movement not only in 1950s and ’60s but in today’s society as well.
The US Justice Department recently reopened the investigation into Till’s death citing new information.
The new sign was approved days after three University of Mississippi students were suspended from the Kappa Alpha Fraternity after posing in front of the bullet-riddled memorial with guns, according to TheGrio.