INDIANAPOLIS — A repeatedly vandalized roadside sign that marked Emmett Till’s brutal murder will be on display at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis in September.
This fall, The Children's Museum is just one stop of many for the touring exhibit "Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley: Let the World See."
The new Emmett Till exhibit aims not only to honor the 14-year-old but to educate families on what has happened in America's past. In addition, The Children's Museum hopes it will help foster "racial harmony and reconciliation today."
In a release about the exhibit, Jennifer Pace Robinson, president and CEO of The Children’s Museum, stated, "We are honored to work with this incredible team, including Emmett’s family, to elevate this important story and bring attention to widespread racism that continues today.”
Starting September 17, visitors of the exhibit can learn about Till's personal story of being a Black teen from Chicago. The exhibition details his visit to Money, Mississippi in 1955 where he was kidnapped and savagely beaten and murdered by a mob of white men. Families will learn precisely how his brutal murder fueled the Civil Rights Movement and how Till's family and community work to keep his memory alive.
The roadside plaque commemorating the site where Till’s body may have been recovered from the Tallahatchie River three days after his murder is critical to the exhibit, according to the museum. The sign — one of several installed throughout Tallahatchie County — has been repeatedly vandalized with acid, spray paint, and bullet holes to the point it has been replaced three times.
According to the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the vandalized historical marker shows that the community has continued to unite and refuses to let the tragedy of Till’s death go unacknowledged and forgotten.
“Despite the repeated vandalism of these signs, our community has united again and again to replace them to tell the truth about what happened to Emmett Till,” Patrick Weems, the executive director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center wrote in the release. “We believe that telling the truth about these acts of violence and injustice is the first step towards racial healing. These vandalized signs show just how much further we have to go to combat racism in our country.”
The artifact connects Americans today, The Children's Museum stated, and we can commit to racial reconciliation as a community.
The Children's Museum recommends children younger than 10 not visit the exhibit due to the difficult subject matter, and adults accompany those between the ages of 10 and 18.
“Using important stories of real people from the past, we want to provide a safe space for families to have critical conversations so they can better understand the key conditions that create change today and give them a starting point in determining positive ways in which they can personally make a difference through collaborative learning and discussing problem-solving together,” Pace Robinson stated.
After the Emmett Till exhibit's display at The Children’s Museum, it will travel across the country, including to Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC, Two Mississippi Museums in Mississippi, DuSable Museum of African American History in Illinois, and the Atlanta History Center in Georgia.
The Children's Museum also has a Doc McStuffins exhibit coming up on February 12, The New Dinosphere opening in March, a Scooby-Doo Mansion opening in June, and an Indy Fuel exhibit showcasing hockey in October.
WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.