Emmett Till’s former Chicago home has been granted landmark status. Its been more than 6 decades since the 14-year-old was brutally tortured and murdered by a white mob. The heinous murder took place in 1955 while Till was visiting his family in Mississippi. His murder sparked the Civil Rights Movement.
Carolyn Bryant whom whereabouts have been kept secret by her family, accused Till of whistling at her and attempting to grab her hand and waist. But in 2017, she recanted her story. Months after Till’s death, the killers, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, were acquitted by an all-white jury.
Timothy Tyson, a Duke University senior research scholar, revealed that Carolyn—in 2007, at age 72—confessed that she had fabricated the most sensational part of her testimony. “That part’s not true,” she told Tyson, about her claim that Till had made verbal and physical advances on her. As for the rest of what happened that evening in the country store, she said she couldn’t remember. Carolyn is currently 87-years-old and is probably living a very guilty life.
Via [Vanity Fair]:
“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.” She also admitted she “felt tender sorrow,” Tyson would note, “for Mamie Till-Mobley”—Emmett Till’s mother, who died in 2003 after a lifetime spent crusading for civil rights. (She had bravely insisted that her son’s casket remain open at his funeral in order to show America what had been done to him.) “When Carolyn herself [later] lost one of her sons, she thought about the grief that Mamie must have felt and grieved all the more.” Tyson does not say whether Carolyn was expressing guilt. Indeed, he asserts that for days after the murders, and until the trial, she was kept in seclusion by her husband’s family. But that “tender sorrow” does sound, in its way, like late-blooming regret.
Chicago’s city council approved the landmark status on Wednesday. Till lived on the second floor of the home with his mother Mamie Till-Mobley. Mamie Till-Mobley continued to live in a three-bedroom apartment on the home’s second floor until 1962 while she worked to honor the legacy of her only child by devoting her life to eradicating racism and improving the quality of life for people of color. The home has been neglected for many years and is now vacant.
The 2,400-square-foot structure was constructed in 1895.
“The brick two-flat was the home of 14-year-old Emmett Till when he was brutally murdered by racists while visiting rural Mississippi in 1955. Upon his body’s return to Chicago, Till’s mother, Mamie, held an open-casket funeral to show the world the horrifying violence her son had suffered,” the release read. “Though two men were acquitted on murder charges, Till’s death became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement.”
The landmark status will keep the historic home from being demolished by the city. There are currently plans being made to turn it into a museum. Emmett Till currently has a whole exhibit dedicated to him at the African American History Museum in Washington D.C.