Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley are awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by unanimous vote

WASHINGTON– The House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Emmett Till, the Chicago teenager murdered by white supremacists in the 1950s, and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley.

The law, passed by the Senate in January, is intended to honor Till and his mother – who had insisted on an open-coffin burial to demonstrate the brutality of his killing – the highest civilian honor given by Congress. The medal will be given to the National Museum of African American History, where it will be displayed next to the coffin in which Till was buried.

Till was kidnapped, tortured, and killed in 1955 after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman at a grocery store in rural Mississippi, in violation of racist Southern society rules at the time. In return, four days later, in the early hours of the morning, he was snatched from his bed and kidnapped from a great-uncle’s house. The murder fueled the civil rights movement after Till’s mother insisted on an open coffin and Jet magazine published photos of his brutalized body.

The Senate bill was drafted by Sens. Cory Booker, DN.J. and Richard Burr, RN.C.. The House version of the legislation is supported by Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill. who also sponsored a bill to issue a commemorative postage stamp honoring Mamie Till-Mobley. She died in 2003.

“The courage and activism displayed by Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, in showing the world the brutality endured by her son, helped awaken the nation’s conscience and compelled America to reckon with its failure, racism.” and to address the glaring injustices that have resulted,” Booker said in a statement after the bill passed the Senate.

Congress has awarded the medals since 1776, previous recipients include Rosa Parks, the Little Rock Nine and Jackie Robinson. The naming comes months after President Joe Biden signed into law the first anti-lynching bill named after Till.

As of March of that year, Congress had failed to pass such legislation nearly 200 times, beginning with a bill introduced in 1900 by Rep. George Henry White from North Carolina, the only black member of Congress at the time.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc7.com/emmett-till-congressional-gold-medal-mamie-mobley-civil-rights/12604219/ Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley are awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by unanimous vote

Laura Coffey

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