Till was brutally beaten, tortured, and murdered by a group of white supremacists in 1955 at the age of 14. His mother opted to have an open-casket funeral for her son, the images of which energized calls for civil rights for Black Americans who, for centuries, had been subjected to heinous racial violence.
The bill was introduced by Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Richard Burr of North Carolina and will posthumously award the mother and son with the highest civilian honor.
"The courage and activism demonstrated by Emmett's mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, in displaying to the world the brutality endured by her son helped awaken the nation's conscience, forcing America to reckon with its failure to address racism and the glaring injustices that stem from such hatred," Booker said in a statement.
"More than six decades after his murder, I am proud to see the Senate pass the long-overdue legislation that would award the Congressional Gold Medal to both Emmett and Mamie Till-Mobley in recognition to their profound contributions to our nation."
The House's version of the bill is being sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois who has backed legislation to honor Mamie Till-Mobley with a commemorative postage stamp.
News of the award comes weeks after the US Department of Justice closed Emmett's murder case for a second time.
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