Sumner, Miss– After over nearly 40 bullet holes had been shot into the River Site Emmett Till memorial sign, an online fundraising effort has reached a $15,000 goal to replace it and offer security for more sites.
The Emmett Till Interpretive Center started the “Vandalized Sign” initiative on their website after a Facebook post with the shot-up sign went viral.
“We found the sign this way, and have wanted to replace the sign,” said Patrick Weems of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center. “We just haven’t had the funds.”
Weems said the marker was at the site where Till’s body was found after it was tossed into the Tallahatchie River.
Till, just 14 years-old, was kidnapped and killed for whistling at a white woman. His death, among other events, kick-started the Civil Rights movement 61 years ago.
Weems said this isn’t the first time the sign has been messed up.
“I’ve had to replace this sign at least once,” said Weems. “And this sign was first shot in 2013. But it had been shot more recently.”
The original sign was stolen.
But when the initiative to raise money went viral, the goal of replacing the sign was quickly surpassed. At over $15,000, the center will be able to protect the site, and implement smartphone technology in their quest to tell Till’s story.
“We’d like to put surveillance there, but I’m not sure how the logistics of that would work,” said Weems.
There are still two months left until the fundraiser ends. You can make a donation to replace the sign here.