Bullet proof sign erected where Emmett Till’s body was found and earlier versions were vandalized

A 500-pound bullet-proof steel memorial to Emmet Till has been unveiled where the civil rights icon’s body was found in a Mississippi river, after previous markers at the site were vandalized.

The 14-year-old’s murder in August 1955, and the subsequent acquittal of his killers by an all-white jury, caused outrage and served as a catalyst for the US civil rights movement.

But vandals had riddled earlier signs with bullets and shotgun pellets, prompting the latest version, which was designed to stand up to future attacks of hate. 

Till’s relatives, including a cousin who was there the night Till was kidnapped, attended a ceremony at the site on Saturday where the sign was erected by the Tallahatchie River in Money.

Above is the new, 500 pound, steel sign placed at the Mississippi river site where Emmett Till’s body was found after the the 14-year-old black child was murdered, causing outrage and setting in motion the US civil rights movement

Vandals had riddled earlier signs with bullets and shotgun pellets (pictured), prompting the latest version, which was designed to repel similar gunfire and thwart future attacks of hate

Vandals had riddled earlier signs with bullets and shotgun pellets (pictured), prompting the latest version, which was designed to repel similar gunfire and thwart future attacks of hate

Vandals have long-tried to erase any indication of where Till's body was found in the river after he was tortured and lynched by two white men in 1955. He is pictured above in a photo provided by his family, six months before he was killed

Vandals have long-tried to erase any indication of where Till’s body was found in the river after he was tortured and lynched by two white men in 1955. He is pictured above in a photo provided by his family, six months before he was killed

‘I think we just have to be resilient and know there are folks out there that don’t want to know this history or who want to erase the history,’ said Patrick Weems, executive director of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission, which installed the new memorial, reports the Associated Press.

Vandals have long-tried to erase any indication of where Till’s body was found in the river after he was tortured and lynched by two white men in 1955. 

Till, a Chicago native, was savagely attacked after he allegedly disrespected a white woman.

An all-white, all-male jury acquitted the attackers, including the woman’s husband, who were accused of the homicide.

Till's death set in motion the civil rights movement after his mother - Mamie Till-Mobley (right) - decided to showcase his brutal beating by having an open casket funeral

Till’s death set in motion the civil rights movement after his mother – Mamie Till-Mobley (right) – decided to showcase his brutal beating by having an open casket funeral

His death served as a catalyst for the civil rights movement after his mother – Mamie Till-Mobley – decided to showcase his brutal beating by having an open casket funeral. 

The first sign erected in 2008 at the location where Till’s remains were found ended up tossed in the river, and a second was shot 317 times with bullets or shotgun pellets. A third sign with ten bullet holes was removed in July.  

In that same month, three University of Mississippi students were suspended from their fraternity after posing with guns in front of the vandalized sign before its removal. 

Three University of Mississippi students were suspended from their fraternity after posing with guns in front of the vandalized sign before its removal. A photo posted on Instagram (above) showed three students - Ben LeClere, John Lowe and a third student

Three University of Mississippi students were suspended from their fraternity after posing with guns in front of the vandalized sign before its removal. A photo posted on Instagram (above) showed three students – Ben LeClere, John Lowe and a third student

A photo, obtained by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica, was posted on one of the student’s private Instagram accounts back in March. 

How Emmett Till’s story helped spur the US civil rights movement

Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Chicago native was travelling in the Mississippi Delta in August 1955 when he was accused of whistling at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant.

Bryant, 21 at the time, was working at a store when Emmett came in to buy two cents of bubble gum. 

Till would end up beaten, shot and disfigured beyond recognition on August 28. His body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River at Graball Landing in Money three days later.

Bryant’s husband, Roy, and his half-brother JW Milam, were arrested for the murder, but were acquitted by an all-white, all male jury on September 23.

Both men later admitted killing Emmett in an interview with Look Magazine, safe in the knowledge they were protected by double jeopardy laws. 

The case – and the outcome of the trial – sparked widespread outrage because of the young age of Till, and the brutality of the attack.

It was seen as representative of the injustices suffered by black people in America at the time. 

Rallies were held around the country – including one led by Martin Luther King Jr in Montgomery, Alabama which was attended by Rosa Parks.

A hundred days after Till’s murder, Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus, sparking the famous bus boycotts against segregation. She would later say that she was inspired to stay seated because of what happened to Till.

In the photo, LeClere can be seen holding a shotgun while Lowe holds a AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. All three members were members of the Kappa Alpha Order, which later suspended them. 

ProPublica’s coverage of the incident prompted a possible Justice Department investigation.  

US Attorney Chad Lamar of the Northern District of Mississippi in Oxford at the time looked over the photo and said that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division would be looking into the incident.

‘We will be working with them closely,’ he said then. 

A spokesperson for Lamar was not immediately available when DailyMail.com reached out for an update on the probe.

Till’s story shook the nation 62 years ago, after he was found beaten, shot and disfigured beyond recognition. His attackers walked free, acquitted at the hands of an all-white, all-male jury.

They had accused the boy of harassing at a white woman. 

The woman, Carolyn Bryant, finally admitted in 2017 that her testimony at the murder trial, which carried the case, was a blatant lie.

‘The Blood of Emmett Till’, a book by Timothy B Tyson, Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, published that year included an interview with Bryant, who also had accused Emmett of grabbing and verbally abusing her.

Bryant, then 21, was the wife of one of the men who was arrested for Emmett’s murder, Roy Bryant. She was working at a store when Emmett came in to buy two cents of bubble gum on a hot August day. 

In her testimony she told the court that she couldn’t bring herself to say the ‘unprintable’ word he’d said to her – only that he told her he’d done ‘something’ with white women before.  

She added: ‘I was just scared to death.’

It took the jury less than an hour to acquit Roy Bryant, and his half-brother JW Milam of the crime, which they admitted to law enforcement.

Till allegedly whistled at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant (pictured) who finally admitted in 2017 that her testimony in the murder trial, which carried the case, was a blatant lie

Till allegedly whistled at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant (pictured) who finally admitted in 2017 that her testimony in the murder trial, which carried the case, was a blatant lie

JW Milam (center) of Glendora, Mississippi, and his half brother, Carolyn Bryant's husband, Roy (right) of Money, were acquitted by an all-male, all-white jury for Till's murder

JW Milam (center) of Glendora, Mississippi, and his half brother, Carolyn Bryant’s husband, Roy (right) of Money, were acquitted by an all-male, all-white jury for Till’s murder

 At the time, Mississippi had very few white on black crime convictions, and led the nation in lynchings.

Several months later, the men admitted killing Emmett in an interview with Look Magazine, safe in the knowledge they were protected by double jeopardy laws and were paid $3,000 for sharing their story. 

Saturday’s dedication included two of Till’s cousins, the Reverand Wheeler Parker and Ollie Gordon. Parker was travelling with Till in the Mississippi Delta, when he was killed. 

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