New Emmett Till Memorial Made Bulletproof To Protect From Vandals
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The Emmett Till Memorial Commission in Glendora, Mississippi, dedicated the fourth marker to honor the brutally slain teen on Oct. 19. The ceremony took place at the Graball Landing site by the Tallahatchie River, not far from where historians believe Till’s lifeless body was recovered 64 years ago, the Washington Post reports.

This time, though, the marker is bulletproof.

The original sign, erected in 2008, was stolen and never recovered. A second sign was erected and vandals continued to shoot it full of bullets, before the commission took it down in 2016 and replaced it with a third sign.

That sign stood for 35 days, until vandals riddled it with bullets, as well.

“This is not just driving down the highway and you see a sign and shoot it,” said Patrick Weems, director of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission. “It’s a very remote site that you’re not just regularly passing by. … Unfortunately, we have people who go all the way out of the way to vandalize it.”

In 2019, the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica published a photo of three white male University of Mississippi students—Ben LeClere, John Lowe, and a third fraternity brother—posing with guns by the sign honoring Till.

LeClere posted the picture on Instagram on Lowe’s birthday, with the message “one of Memphis’s finest and the worst influence I’ve ever met.”

They were are all suspended from Kappa Alpha fraternity.

 Family and close friends, including cousin Airickca Gordon-Taylor, executive director at the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation, and her mother, Ollie Gordon, who grew up with young Emmett, gathered Saturday to honor him. The beauty of the day did not hide the ungliness of the necessity that, in 2019, white boys in Mississippi are still so racist that they’ll resort to shooting up a memorial in honor of a Black teen murdered by white supremacists.

“The fact that it’s bulletproof speaks volumes,” Gordon-Taylor said. “I was so pleased to see how many people had come out to support the family and the efforts of the mission; that was very moving.”

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