Civil Rights Sign Vandalized
A civil rights historical marker remembers black teenager Emmett Till, who was kidnapped before being lynched in 1955. Allan Hammons, whose public relations firm made the marker, said Monday that someone scratched the marker with a blunt tool. Allan Hammons—AP

An Emmett Till Marker on the Mississippi Freedom Trail Was Vandalized

Jun 27, 2017

A historical marker for Emmett Till on the Mississippi Freedom Trail has been vandalized.

The sign, located outside the grocery store where 14-year-old black teenager Till was accused of whistling at a white woman in 1955, is missing vinyl panels that contained photos and words about him. In May, someone scratched the marker with a blunt tool, according to Allan Hammons, whose public relations firm created the marker.

"Who knows what motivates people to do this?" Hammons told the Associated Press. "Vandals have been around since the beginning of time." Hammons said the marker on the Freedom Trail cost more than $8,000 and repairs will amount to about $500.

Till was kidnapped, tortured and killed by two white men after 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant said he whistled at her. His brutal murder, and the later acquittal of the defendants by an all-white jury, set the Civil Rights movement in motion.

The AP reports that a second marker for Till, near the area where his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, was shot multiple times.

In January, Bryant, who remarried to become Carolyn Bryant Donham, told Vanity Fair that she had fabricated her testimony against Till.

TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.