Interpretation of the Emmett Till Story
The Community Apology to the Till family
In 2007, the Emmett Till Memorial Commission of Tallahatchie County, Inc. issued the first public apology from anyone in the state of Mississippi to the Till family. The apology on behalf of the residents of Tallahatchie County was attended by several members of the Till family. At the end of the ceremony, a historic plaque was unveiled in front of the courthouse acknowledging the historic trial that took place there.
The Emmett Till Interpretive Center
The Interpretive Center was opened in Sumner, MS in 2015 by the Emmett Till Memorial Commission of Tallahatchie County, Inc. It is located across the street from the Tallahatchie County Courthouse where J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant were found not guilty of murdering Emmett Till by a jury of 12 white men. The Interpretive Center was created to live out the first line of the 2007 community apology to the Till family, which reads, "Racial Reconciliation begins by telling the truth."
ETMC Commemorative Signs
In 2007-2008, the Emmett Till Memorial Commission of Tallahatchie County, Inc. installed ten commemorative signs throughout Tallahatchie County to mark sites associated with the Emmett Till murder. These signs have drawn national attention due to repeated vandalism. The signs have been stolen, thrown in the river, spray painted with KKK, attacked with acid, and riddled with bullet holes. The river site where Emmett Till may have been pulled from the Tallahatchie River is now marked with the country's first bulletproof marker for a civil rights event.
The Emmett Till Memory Project is an app designed to provide a virtual tour of the Mississippi and Chicago sites associated with the life and murder of Emmett Till. The ETMP is a collaborative production of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission of Tallahatchie County and scholars across the country: Dave Tell, Davis Houck, and Pablo Correa.
In September 2020, the National Trust for Historic Preservation declared Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
The 65th Anniversary of the Murder of Emmett Till
On August 28, 2020, the Emmett Till Interpretive Center held a series of panels in recognition of the 65th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till. Panel topics included Emmett Till and commemoration, Emmett Till and justice, and a panel on the theme of "Emmett Till was my George Floyd," in the words of the late Rep. John Lewis with young organizers. The event opened with Rev. Wheeler Parker, Jr., cousin of Emmett Till and last living witness of his kidnapping. View the full event here.
J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant Trial Reenactment
March 26-28, 2018, students from West Virginia traveled to the Tallahatchie County Courthouse to reenact the trial of Milam and Bryant in the same courtroom where the trial took place 63 years earlier. The reenactment took place over three days and was based on the court transcript published with the FBI report released in 2006. The reenactment was attended by Rev. Wheeler Parker, Jr. and his wife.
Youth Documentary Film Workshops
In the summer, the Emmett Till Interpretive Center hosts filmmaking and photography workshops for local youth to document their own communities' stories. To see some examples of their work, visit the Emmett Till Interpretive Center's website.