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Biden names new Emmett Till memorial as debate over American history heats up

President Joe Biden on Tuesday honored Emmett Till, the black teenager whose 1955 murder helped spark the civil rights movement, and called for a national memorial to his mother spanning two states and for Americans to learn the country’s full history.

A 14-year-old from Chicago, she was beaten, shot, and mutilated in Minnie, Mississippi on August 28, 1955, four days after a 21-year-old white woman accused her of whistling. His body was thrown into the river.

The violent killing put a spotlight on American civil rights when his mother, Mamie Till-Bradley, held an open-casket funeral and a photo of her son’s badly mutilated body appeared in black media.

The designation of a national monument at 5.7 acres and three locations marks a bold new effort by the president to memorialize the nation. bloody Ethnicity History Republicans in some states even restrict how the past is taught.

“Darkness and denial can hide a lot but they can erase nothing,” Biden told guests in the ornate, marble Indian Treaty Room next to the White House before signing the proclamation. “We cannot choose to learn only what we want to know.”

Tuesday is the 82nd anniversary of Till’s birth in 1941.

Other selected sites are in Mississippi: Graball Landing, where Till’s body is believed to have been recovered; and the Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse, where two white men who later confessed to Till’s murder were acquitted by an all-white jury.

Markers at Grabal Landing since 2008 commemorating Till’s assassination have been damaged by repeated gunfire.

The site and others will now be considered federal property, receiving about $180,000 a year in funding from the National Park Service. According to Patrick Weems, executive director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Sumner, Mississippi, any future vandalism will be investigated by federal law enforcement agencies rather than local police.

Other such monuments include the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty and inventor Thomas Edison’s laboratory.

“America is changing, America is evolving,” said the Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., 84, a cousin of Tills, who was with the boy the night he was abducted at gunpoint from a relative’s home where he was staying in Mississippi.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years and I try to tell young people that it happens, but it’s very slow,” Parker said in a telephone interview as he flew from Chicago to Washington to attend the event as one of about 60 White House guests.

Biden will likely need strong support from black voters to secure a second term in the 2024 presidential election.

He showed a film of the lynching story, “Until,” at the White House in February. Last March, he Signed into law A bipartisan bill called Till made lynching a federal hate crime for the first time.

A Republican field led by former President Donald Trump has made conservative views on race and other controversial issues of history part of its platform, including Ban on books and fighting efforts to teach school children about the country’s past that they consider ideologically motivated or unpatriotic.

“There are people in our nation today who prefer to erase or rewrite the ugly parts of our past, people who try to teach that enslaved people benefited from slavery,” Vice President Kamala Harris said at the event, a subtle reference to comments made by Florida Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis last week that some people benefited from the Crafts.

“It’s a wonderful, teachable moment to talk about the importance of this story as an American story that everyone can share now, especially at a time when people are trying to rewrite history,” said Christopher Benson, director of the nonprofit Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Institute in Summit, Illinois.

“We now have a monument that can’t be erased. It can’t be banned and it can’t be censored, and we think that’s a very important thing.”


Source by [CNBC News]



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