The memorial marking the place where 14-year-old Emmett Till’s body was found is now covered in bullet holes.
Till was kidnapped and brutally murdered in 1955 after allegedly whistling at a white woman. His body was thrown in the Tallahatchie River. The two white men responsible for his death were found “not guilty” by an all-white jury. Till’s death was a major moment in the civil rights movement, and his casket is now on display in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The sign marking the spot where Till’s body was removed from the river in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, now has over 50 bullet holes in it, according to WJTV, a local CNN affiliate.
The Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Sumner, Mississippi, has almost reached its fundraising goal to replace the bullet-ridden sign.
“I was very emotional. I did not expect to see the site, the marker, with bullet holes in it,” Wilson told WJTV. “That marker was just evidence that there are people who are still living in those areas who still hold those ideologies dear to their heart. Ideologies that we’re trying to get away from.”
A recent study from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) found that in 2015, the number of hate groups in the United States increased for the first time in three years — and was 14 percent higher than the year before. “2015 was a year that very nearly approaches the political upheavals of 1968,” Mark Potok, SPLC senior fellow who worked on the report, told ThinkProgress shortly after it was released. “An enormous amount of hatred has been absorbed in the political mainstream.”
Potok pointed to hateful rhetoric from the Republican presidential nominee as one explanation. Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign has been marked by white supremacy, and he has repeatedly criticized the Black community. He has encouraged racism against Black protesters at his rallies and Black Lives Matters activists, and he has shared a fake photo of Black supporters. Last November, he retweeted an image that showed that the number of “blacks killed by police” is far lower than the number of “blacks killed by blacks.”