Museum brings Emmett Till exhibit to inspire future generations

Exhibit curated for age-appropriate, intergenerational discussions on history and healing

Memphis, TN, Sept. 28, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The traveling exhibition Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley: Let the World See will open at the National Civil Rights Museum on October 7. Because Emmett Till’s story impacted multi-generations, it is important for the Museum to preserve its legacy and lessons for future generations.

“Let the world see what they did to my baby,” was the declaration Mamie Till engraved in the annals of history. The exhibit shares how a mother’s bravery and fight for justice more than six decades ago fueled the civil rights movement in America. When Emmett’s body arrived in Chicago, his mother insisted on an open casket so the world could see the ugly face of hatred and racism.

Created by the Till family, Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley Institute, Emmett Till Interpretive Center, and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the National Civil Rights Museum is the exhibit’s seventh and final stop before being permanently displayed at the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, steps away from where the trial for his murder took place in the Second District Tallahatchie County Courthouse in Sumner, MS.

Historic markers installed near the Tallahatchie River (acknowledging where Emmett Till’s lifeless body was recovered) have been continually stolen, shot at and vandalized. One sign made headlines after a group of students from the University of Mississippi posed in front of it with rifles and then posted their photo on Instagram in March of 2019. That shot-riddled sign will be on display to show that racism continues today as people try to destroy the memory of what happened to 14-year-old Emmett Till.

Since then, incremental progress has been made to preserve the legacy of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley including several books and an ABC mini-documentary series called, “Let the World See.” A docu-drama called “Women of the Movement” was partially shot in Memphis and premiered at the museum in December 2022. Props and artifacts from the film were donated to the museum and included in the display.

In August 2022, members of the museum staff sojourned to the key locations in which Till’s murder and investigation unraveled. Footage of their encounters is also included in the exhibition.

After 100 years and 200 failed attempts, a bill named the Emmett Till Antilynching Act was finally passed in March 2022. It criminalizes lynching and makes it punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Exhibit developers hope visitors will feel empowered to stand up against racial violence and to make a difference in their own communities.

Rev. Wheeler Parker, Till’s cousin and the last surviving witness to his abduction, stated “History is history. It’s not who we are today. What matters is what we choose to do about it today. So, what are you going to do?”  

Parker will be at the National Civil Rights Museum on October 4, to share his personal story through the book, A Few Days Full of Trouble, with co-author Christopher Benson. Attendees of the evening book talk will get a sneak peek of the exhibition.

This project was made possible in part by The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy Demands Wisdom, the Maddox Foundation in Hernando, MS, The Institute for Museum and Library, and The Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. 

About the Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley Institute
The Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Institute, a non-profit organization, is engaged in research and social justice advocacy.  We are dedicated to preserving the memory and historical significance of the life and death of Emmett Louis Till, and preserving the social action legacy of his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, to foster educational opportunities and civic engagement among youth.  Our focus is on funding research, education and public programs aimed at encouraging enlightened participation in the democratic process and working to build and maintain a civil society. For more information about the Till Institute, visit

About the Emmett Till Interpretive Center
The Emmett Till Interpretive Center was formed to confront the brutal truth of the 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in the Mississippi Delta and to seek justice for the Till family and Delta community. The Center aims to tell the story of Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, as an act of restorative justice to create the conditions necessary to begin the process of racial healing in Mississippi and across the nation.

About The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is a nonprofit institution committed to creating extraordinary learning experiences across the arts, sciences, and humanities that have the power to transform the lives of children and families. For more information about The Children's Museum, visit

About the National Civil Rights Museum
The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from slavery to the present. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors worldwide have come, including more than 90,000 students annually. Serving as the new public square, the Museum is steadfast in its mission to honor and preserve the site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.  It chronicles the American civil rights movement and tells the story of the ongoing struggle for human rights, serving as a catalyst to inspire action to create positive social change.  A Smithsonian Affiliate and an internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum is recognized as a 2019 National Medal Award recipient by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), the top national honor for museums and libraries.  It is a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 5% U.S. Museum, USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal.


Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley traveling exhibition

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