Community With Confederate Monument Honors Emmett Till With Statue

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Just miles away from an elaborate Confederate monument, a Mississippi community has built a larger-than-life statue in honor of Emmett Till, the Black teenager who was abducted and killed in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman in a store.

On Friday (October 21), a nine-foot bronze statue depicting a living Till in slacks, a dress shirt, tie, and hat is set to be unveiled in Greenwood decades after his body was found mutilated in a river following the kidnapping, the Associate Press reports.

Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., the last living witness to the abduction of his cousin Till from a family home, said of Friday's dedication ceremony: "We just thank God someone is keeping his name out there.” Some wrongly thought Till deserved to be killed for breaking the taboo of flirting with a white woman and many people didn't want to discuss the case for decades, Parker said.

“Now there's interest in it, and that's a godsend,” Parker said. “You know what his mother said: ‘I hope he didn’t die in vain.'"

The Till statue will stand at Greenwood’s Rail Spike Park, which is just a short drive from an elaborate Confederate moment outside the Leflore County Courthouse and from the crumbling remains of Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, the store at the root of the case.

Greenwood and Leflore County are both over 70 percent Black, yet officials had to work for years to bring a Till statue to the community.

Democratic state Sen. David Jordan of Greenwood secured $150,000 in state funding and the community brought in Utah artist, Matt Glenn, to make the statue a reality.

“So much has been said about this case,” Jordan said this week. “Hopefully, it will bring all of us together.”

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