Screenshot: WATE 6 (YouTube)
So it has come to this.
Days after a photo surfaced showing three white frat boys with guns posing in front of a bullet-ridden historic marker to Emmett Till, the commission that maintains the memorial sign plan to replace it with one that is bulletproof, according to CNN.
The Emmett Till Memorial Commission had already removed the sign days ago when it got word that the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica were running a story featuring the photo of the three University of Mississippi students, Patrick Weems, commission executive director, told CNN.
The new sign will be made from reinforced steel and will weigh nearly 600 pounds. Lite Brite Neon Studio in Brooklyn is currently creating the sign.
“We’re under no naiveté that this is going to end,” Weems told NBC News. “The manufacturers said that this is a bulletproof sign. We’ll test that theory.”
“This is an ongoing saga,” he said.
Ongoing saga, indeed. The memorial sign, which marked the location where the body of 14-year-old Emmett Till was found, has been vandalized multiple times.
The first sign went up along the river in 2007 and was stolen the following year. No arrests were ever made. When the marker was replaced, it was riddled with bullet holes. In 2018, a third sign was put up at the site but only 35 days went by before it was shot up again.
While it is unclear whether the three men had shot up the sign, they were suspended by their fraternity and the Justice Department has launched an investigation. But their university, Ole Miss, basically did a Kanye shrug. Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks admitted that the photo was “offensive and hurtful,” but since it didn’t happen on campus “and was not part of any university-affiliated event,” there wasn’t much the school could do. The university has “limits on the tools available to remedy this offensive behavior,” according to a statement from Sparks, NBC reports. So much for teachable moments.
Meanwhile, the new memorial will go up in October. NBC News notes that members of Till’s family plan to attend the ceremony.