In late 2016, a marker placed at the spot where Emmett Till’s body was found was riddled with bullets. Now, several miles away, a memorial marking the store where he was falsely accused of threatening a white woman in 1955 has been defaced.
Allan Hammons, whose public relations firm made the marker, told NBC that someone scratched it with a blunt tool and peeled off the tiles that included information about Till’s death.
“Who knows what motivates people to do this?” Hammons said. “Vandals have been around since the beginning of time.”
Hammons stated that the sign cost $8,000 and will cost $500 to repair.
The newly defaced memorial was placed in front of what was once Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, the store where Carolyn Bryant claimed Emmett Till threatened and physically harmed her. This accusation led to her then-husband, Roy Brant, and his brother, J.W. Milam, to kidnap, torture and kill Till. They were later acquitted by an all-white jury.
Milam and Roy are now dead, but they both confessed to committing the crime years later during a paid interview. Carolyn, who later remarried, confessed that she lied in her testimony and made false accusations in an interview with Timothy B. Tyson in 2008.
Today, Emmett Till is considered by many to be a major spark in igniting the Civil Rights Movement. His mother’s decision to hold an open-casket funeral, despite the clear signs of torture on her son’s dead body, brought people from different ideologies within the movement together.