GREENWOOD, Miss. Mississippi County has approved contracts to a sculptor for the construction and installation of a bronze statue Emmett Till. This is the statue that honors the Black teenager who was lynched in 1955. It became a catalyst for civil rights movements.
Monday's vote by Leflore County Supervisors was about seven months after the initial agreement that the county would have Till as a statue, according to the Greenwood Commonwealth.
Installation will take place at Rail Spike Park, Greenwood, around Oct. 1.
In December, the Justice Department declared that it was closing its investigation into Till's death. Witnesses said that the 14-year old from Chicago was visiting family in the Mississippi Delta and was then abducted, tortured, and shot. He was allegedly making a noise at a white woman in Money's rural grocery store. This small community is located in Leflore County about 10 miles north from Greenwood.
Mamie Till - Mobley, Till's mother, insisted that a Chicago open-casket funeral be held. Jet magazine published images of Till's brutalized body. These horrifying images galvanized civil right activists.
Two contracts Leflore County has with Utah-based Big Statues are held by Matt Glenn, sculptor. Leflore County is required to pay $110,900 to make and ship the statue. Installation will be paid for by the county at $5,640 according to the second contract.
Mississippi is home to many statues honoring Confederate soldiers in county courts, but few statues honoring Black historical figures.
Greenwood State Senator David Jordan secured $150,000 last year from the state to pay for the statue. Jordan was present at the trial of Roy Bryant, J.W. Milam were the two white men charged. They were acquitted by an all-white jury.
After a 2017 book cited Carolyn Bryant Donham (who was married to Roy Bryant) as saying that she lied about Till's murder, the Justice Department reopened its investigation. She claimed Till had grabbed her while she was in the store. Till's allegations were refuted publicly by Donham's family members, who are now in their 80s.