National Park Recognition
Our Park Sites
The national park service supports the preservation and development of three distinct sites related to the history and legacy of Emmett Till -- two in Mississippi and one in Chicago. The two sites in Mississippi include Graball Landing and the Tallahatchie County Courthouse. The one site in Chicago is the Roberts Temple Church. Click on the images to learn more about each of these sites.
Want to help us continue our preservation of these historic sites? Donate here to our cause! Any donation, big or small, is valuable in helping us in our mission towards racial healing and reconciliation.
-- Rosa Parks, civil rights activist
Why a National Park?
Emmett Till's murder on August 28, 1955, shocked the conscience of the nation. His murder might have gone unnoticed by the general public–just like the lynchings of so many other black men and women throughout the South–if not for the bravery of Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. Mamie decided to “let the world see what I have seen” by holding an open-casket memorial service for her son upon his body’s return to Chicago. At the memorial service, which was attended by more than 100,000 mourners, Mamie allowed Jet magazine to photograph her son’s mutilated body. As the exhibit on Emmett Till at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. states, “The photo of Till with his mother earlier that year alongside Jet’s photo of his mutilated corpse horrified the nation and became a catalyst for the burgeoning civil rights movement.” It was no coincidence that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other organizers of the March on Washington chose August 28, 1963, the eighth anniversary of Emmett’s murder, as the date of the March.
The sites associated with Emmett’s murder, his open casket funeral, and the subsequent “trial of the century” in which two of Emmett’s murderers were acquitted illustrate how racial tensions in Mississippi spurred a nationwide movement for civil rights–including inspiring the Emmett Till generation. These sites are critical resources for scholarly study of these historic events and of their connection to a national movement. The interpretation of these sites is vital to continue educating Americans about this pivotal moment in our history.
This National Park dedicated to the story of Emmett Till’s murder and the bravery of his mother Mamie Till-Mobley brings an important piece of American history–and a key turning point in the struggle for African American civil rights–under the protection of the National Park System. This park joins other important national parks profiling the bravery of African American women, such as the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park and the Daisy Bates House in Little Rock.