Jan 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Senate passes bill to award Emmett Till Congressional Gold Medal

Photo of Emmett Till
Photo of Emmett Till. Photo: Via Getty Images

The Senate passed a bill on Tuesday to posthumously award Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor Congress can give.

Why it matters: Till's death in 1955 and his mother's decision to hold an open casket funeral helped spark the civil rights movement.

  • Till, who was 14 at the time, was abducted, tortured and murdered in Mississippi by white supremacists.
  • Till-Mobley allowed a photograph of her son's body to be taken and published.

Flashback: The bipartisan bill was originally sponsored by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) in 2020, with Burr calling it a "long-overdue recognition."

  • Booker said that Till-Mobley's decision forced the country "to confront its collective failure to address the evil of racism."

Go deeper: Justice Department closes Emmett Till murder probe

Go deeper