President Joe Biden, Dr. Marvel Parker, and Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr. head to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Marvel Parker)
Biden orders Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument
By Carol McGowan
On July 25, on what would have been Emmett Till’s 82nd birthday, President Joe Biden signed a proclamation establishing the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument in Mississippi and Illinois.
Three sites are included in the national monument: Graball Landing near Glendora, Miss., Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in the Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago, and the Tallahatchie County Courthouse in Sumner, Miss.
Graball Landing was where Emmett’s body was recovered, Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ was where his funeral was held, and the Tallahatchie County Courthouse was where the trial was held, and his killers were acquitted.
All three sites are now part of the National Park Service.
In 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till left Chicago to visit family in the Mississippi Delta, where he was abducted, tortured and lynched on August 28.
Emmett’s murder shocked the conscience of the nation and illuminated the impact of racial violence – but only after his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, bravely held an open casket funeral for her son at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago.
The subsequent trial and acquittal of J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant for Emmett’s murder, held at the Tallahatchie County Courthouse in Sumner, Miss., further demonstrated the injustice of the time.
“It’s been my life’s work to tell the truth of what happened to Emmett,” said Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr., cousin and last living witness of Emmett Till’s kidnapping. “This national monument designation makes certain that Emmett Till’s life and legacy, along with his mother Mamie Till-Mobley’s social action and impact, will live on and be used to inspire others to create a more just and equitable society. We thank President Biden for codifying the national monument and are heartened to know these places will foster empathy, understanding and healing for years to come.”
A White House press release said the proclamation directs the National Park Service to develop a plan in consultation with local communities, organizations, and the public to support the interpretation and preservation of other key sites in Mississippi and Illinois that help tell the story of Emmett and Mamie Till. This may include the Glendora Cotton Gin, Mound Bayou, the Tutwiler Funeral Home, and the Emmett Till Boyhood Home in Summit.
Summit is home to two historic sites as part of the Till Story. There’s a marker where Emmett’s boyhood home once stood, and there is a recently dedicated bronze statue of Mamie Till-Mobley at Argo Community High School where Mamie was one of its first black graduates.
Wheeler Parker and his wife, Village of Summit Trustee, Dr. Marvel Parker, were invited to the signing ceremony in Washington, D.C. last week.
Dr. Parker said it was an honor for her and her husband to be there.
The Parkers were guests in the Oval Office on Tuesday, and talked with the president.
They then walked over to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building where the signing would take place.
Vice President Kamala Harris introduced Wheeler Parker, and, in an unprecedented event, he was asked to, and had the honor of introducing the president.
After the signing, President Biden handed the pen he used to Dr. Parker. That pen will be donated to the Smithsonian as part of the Emmett Till exhibit.
Dr. Parker said it all was a very moving experience.
“When we got the call from the White House on Sunday, and my husband was asked to introduce the president on Tuesday, it was surreal,” she said.
The Emmett and Mamie Till-Mobley Institute will be stewards of the Roberts Temple National Monument.
Marvel Parker is Executive Director of the institute and has helped lead the effort to restore and interpret the history of Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ.
“As Director of the Preserve Roberts Temple Initiative, I want to thank President Biden, Elder Cleven Wardlow, Bishop Edwin Walker, the Roberts Family and our partners,” she said. “This designation is the culmination of our extensive collaborative work to make this historical landmark a part of The Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley legacy.”
“After 15 years of hard work, we have finally achieved a designation that we believe is pivotal to our nation’s story,” said Patrick Weems, executive director, Emmett Till Interpretive Center. “The lynching of Emmett Till and the courage of Mamie Till Mobley served as a springboard to the modern Civil Rights Movement, and preserving this history in perpetuity will serve as a continual act of restorative justice. We extend our deepest gratitude to the Tallahatchie County Board of Supervisors, and Congressman Bennie Thompson for championing this vision of reconciliation, which has now become a national monument.”
A consortium of local and national partners has worked together to advocate for the preservation and documentation of sites connected to the Till family legacy.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has provided technical preservation support and $750,000 in critical grant funding to aid in the rescue of sites important to the Till legacy.
“Imbued in these now permanently protected buildings and landscapes are the unspeakable crimes of racial violence, and the tireless strength of Mamie Till Mobley who harnessed her grief in pursuit of social justice,” said Brent Leggs, executive director, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Through historic preservation, this multiracial coalition of partners will continue its work to uplift this new national monument and secure the resources and investment needed to ensure the site’s future.”
The Action Fund and its signature partner, Mellon Foundation, will together invest an additional $5 million to provide specialized preservation expertise to ensure that Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ is restored for continued use by the congregation and interpreted for local, national, and global audiences.
“As younger generations of Americans learn them for the first time, Emmet Till’s and Mamie Till Mobley’s stories remain central to our effort to make a more racially just United States,” said Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation. “We at Mellon are steadfast in our support of this national monument and the opportunities it provides for reparative learning, public engagement, and the crucial collective work we must undertake to end race-based hatred and violence in our country.”
Fine, community service for woman who killed man in fatal accident
Spread the loveVictim’s family outraged over outcome By Steve Metsch Six months after the car she was driving hit and killed Murod Kurdi, Leanne Cusack had her day in court. On Tuesday, she was found guilty of failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident – the only charge against her – for the fatal…
Neighbors lighting the way to Christmas season
Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 517-7796 . It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere me and Oliver go! Thank you, neighbors. The blocks around my home are simply beautiful with the displays. To get yourselves more in…
Hanukkah, a holiday of happiness and peace
Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 . Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate the rededication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C. and the miracle of the temple lights lasting eight days with just one day’s supply of oil. Hanukkah is…
Palos Heights celebrates holiday season at Kris Kringle Market
Spread the loveBy Kelly White The Palos Heights community welcomed in the Christmas season by showcasing its small-town charm and holiday cheer this past weekend. Residents from Palos Heights, along with those from surrounding communities, came out to celebrate the Holidays in the Heights at the city’s Kris Kringle Market on December 1 and December…
College Report | SXU football falls in quarterfinals
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer For three quarters, Saint Xavier went nearly toe-to-toe with the No. 1-ranked football team in the nation. Justin Pringle had returned a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown to bring the Cougars to within three points of Northwestern (Iowa), the top-seeded team in the NAIA playoffs and the…
Area Sports Roundup | Richards grad Sean Lewis ready to air it out in San Diego
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The rollercoaster ride continues for Sean Lewis. The Richards alum went from being the head coach at Kent State to the offensive coordinator at Colorado, one of the most talked about college football programs in the country this season because of Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders. He was…
Girls Hoops | Sandburg and Oak Lawn to host holiday tournaments
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The field has been finalized for the third Sandburg Holiday Classic, which is the only girls basketball holiday tournament in the area to feature 16 teams. The host Eagles will be joined in the event, to be held Dec. 27-29, by area teams Oak Lawn, Richards, Argo and…
Get ready to tighten those belts
Spread the love. By Rich Miller . The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget released a revised state revenue and spending forecast last month for the current fiscal year and it’s pretty good. Its projections for next fiscal year, however, were not nearly as strong. Projected Fiscal Year 2024 revenues have been revised upward by…
Unique, cheerful, local crafts at Hale Park
Spread the love. By Tim Hadac Editor Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound . I’ve never been one to decorate for Christmas, just for the sake of decorating. And I’m not a fan of many of the things we see these days. I’ll take a pass on Christmas decorations that involve images of celebrities, pro sports logos,…
For at least 6 months, state failed to act on Carlinville funeral director that mishandled remains
By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois email@example.com State regulators allowed a Carlinville funeral director to operate for months despite a complaint filed by a local coroner who found a decomposing body in his funeral home and alleged the care of the remains was “unacceptable and criminal in nature.” While trying to assist a local family…
Dolly Parton Imagination Library officially launches statewide in Illinois
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org SPRINGFIELD – Illinois families with infants and toddlers now have access to free children’s books that can be sent directly to their home, regardless of their income. Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday announced the official launch of the state’s partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program founded…
What to know about Illinois’ assault weapons ban
By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois email@example.com Gun owners face a Jan. 1 deadline to register their assault weapons with the state under Illinois’ assault weapons law. But between lawsuits and ongoing policymaking, the exact guns, accessories and ammunition covered under the Protect Illinois Communities Act remain unclear to many gun rights advocates, who point…
Capitol Cast: Filing Day for 2024 primary brings frigid temps and election themes to Springfield
Capitol News Illinois Broadcast Director Jennifer Fuller talks with Editor-in-Chief Jerry Nowicki about the 2023 petition filing deadline for Illinois’ 2024 primary election. Capitol News Illinois · Capitol Cast: Filing Day for 2024 primary brings frigid temps and election themes to Springfield
Supreme Court rules teen bicyclist is covered by father’s auto insurance policy
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that automobile insurance policies must cover people against uninsured motorists and hit-and-run accidents, even if the person covered by the policy is not in a vehicle at the time of the accident. The case involved a 14-year-old Chicago boy, Cristopher…
State high court finds medical personnel exemption to biometric information privacy law
By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois email@example.com The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday ruled the state’s strongest-in-the-nation biometric information privacy law does have an exemption: health care workers who use fingerprints or similar scans to access things like medication, materials or patient health information. In a unanimous opinion, the justices ruled against a pair of…
Illinois Supreme Court: FOID records exempt from public disclosure
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that people may obtain records about their own Firearm Owners Identification cards, but they may not use the state’s Freedom of Information Act to do so. In a 7-0 ruling, the court said the Illinois State Police acted properly when…
Temporary staffing agencies seek to block new state labor law
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois email@example.com SPRINGFIELD – A group of temporary staffing agencies and their trade associations are asking a federal court to block enforcement of a new state law that governs how day laborers and temp workers are managed and paid. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Chicago, challenges several changes…
Former GOP senator, third-party governor candidate to represent himself in corruption trial
By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org SPRINGFIELD – Monday was supposed to have been the first day in the weeklong federal corruption trial of former Republican state Sen. Sam McCann, who allegedly misused more than $200,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses. A pull-down projector screen in the Springfield courtroom of U.S. District Judge…
Candidates for 2024 primary brave cold for potential ballot advantage
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois email@example.com SPRINGFIELD – Monday marked the kickoff for the 2024 election cycle, with hundreds of candidates filing their petitions at the Illinois State Board of Elections. Those in line by 8 a.m. Monday at the ISBE building in Springfield will be entered into a lottery to be the first…