CHICAGO (CBS) — It was 60 years ago today that 14-year-old Emmett Till was beaten and shot in the head for reportedly whistling at a white woman while visiting relatives in Mississippi, and his family led a memorial procession to his grave in Alsip.
“It’s a very pivotal moment for us,” said Till’s cousin, Airickca Gordon-Taylor, director of the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation, founded to honor the legacy of Till’s mother, and preserve the memory of the slain black boy whose brutal murder served as a rallying cry for the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s.
Till’s mother insisted on a public funeral with an open casket to show the world what happened to her son.
On Friday, family members gathered at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, where Till’s funeral was held, to travel to Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, where he was buried.
“It’s a very emotional day,” Gordon-Taylor said.
Another cousin, Wheeler Parker, was with Till when white men broke into the home where Till was staying with his family, and took him away in the middle of the night to lynch him.
“I’m always reminded and aware of what happened that day,” Parker said.