Congressman Bobby L. Rush introduced the Mamie Till-Mobley Memorial Stamp Act on Friday in celebration of Juneteenth.
The congressman, who represents the 1st district of Illinois, wanted the Postmaster General to issue a commemorative postage stamp in honor of Till-Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till. The 14-year-old Black boy from Chicago was visiting his family in Mississippi when he was kidnapped and lynched in 1955.
Today, I introduced legislation to commemorate the memory of Mamie Till-Mobley, whose selfless decision to show the world the horrors inflicted on her son, Emmett, was a preeminent and catalytic event in the civil rights movement.
— Bobby L. Rush (@RepBobbyRush) June 19, 2020
Till-Mobley made the decision to show the desecrated remains of her son by having an open casket funeral after his death. Till’s death and Till-Mobley’s courageous response are considered one of the watershed moments in the civil rights struggle.
“Juneteenth is about liberation, but we all know that Black Americans have never been truly free, and we are still fighting for equal rights some 400 years after the first Africans arrived on the Eastern Shores of America and were forced into bondage,” Rush said in a statement.
“However, it is thanks to heroes like Mamie Till-Mobley that we are that much closer to feeling completely unshackled and unfettered in the so-called ‘Land of the Free.’”
Rush continued by drawing parallels between Till-Mobley making her son’s funeral public and the recent bystander video of George Floyd being killed in Minneapolis by police officers. He noted that these visuals created backlash and movement.
“In the same way that video footage of George Floyd’s police lynching has triggered the global protests and sweeping police reforms we are witnessing today, Mamie’s decision to show the nation the reality of racial violence inflicted upon her son, Emmett Till, was the spark that lit the flame of a nationwide crusade for justice back then,” he stated.
“Much of the progress achieved by the civil rights movement was made possible by Mamie Till-Mobley’s utterly selfless and inconceivably courageous decision to hold an open-casket funeral for her son in order to show the world what hate and bigotry had done to her beautiful baby boy.”
Congressman Rush declared that Till-Mobley has earned her place in history and the right to be honored on a commemorative stamp.
“I can think of no better way to celebrate this momentous holiday than by honoring the Black woman whose solitary and selfless decision led to the further liberation of millions of Black Americans today.”
In addition to this proposed recognition, Rush also introduced the Emmett Till Antilynching Act which would make lynching a federal crime. It passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support earlier in February. It has since stalled in the Senate.
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