The Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honour, has been posthumously awarded to Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, who were kidnapped and murdered by white supremacists in 1955.
Senators Cory Booker of New York and Richard Burr of North Carolina first introduced the legislation in September of 2020, and it was passed unanimously. The bill now calls for the posthumous presentation of medals honouring Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley, and their subsequent donation to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
More than 60 years after Emmett Till-murder, Mobley’s Booker said he was “glad to see the Senate enact long-overdue legislation” honouring the Till-Mobleys with the Congressional Gold Medal in a statement released Tuesday.
When he was 14, Chicago native Emmett Till was visiting his uncle in Money, Miss., when he was abducted, savagely assaulted, and murdered.
Mamie Till-Mobley demanded an open casket at her son’s funeral so that the more than 50,000 people in attendance could see the violence to which her son had been subjected, while a graphic photograph of her son’s dead body in the coffin helped galvanise civil rights activists, according to Booker’s office.
A famous response from Mamie Till-Mobley when asked why she preferred an open coffin was, “This had to be witnessed by the whole nation.”
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As a result, Mamie Till-Mobley dedicated the rest of her life to bringing her son’s death to light. She passed away in 2003.
Emotions were awakened by Emmett Till-mother Mobley’s Mamie Till-bravery Mobley’s and activity in exposing her son’s cruelty, which prompted the nation to confront its inability to deal with racism and the blatant injustices that come from such hatred,” Booker stated.
According to the U.S. House of Representatives’ website, the Congressional Gold Medal has been bestowed to hundreds as a “highest expression of national appreciation for remarkable achievements and contributions.”
On September 15, 2013, the Congressional Gold Medal was presented to the 13 American military men died in Afghanistan during the evacuation of American citizens and Afghan nationals from the country in August 2013.