On the heels of #Ferguson how timely that the casket which helped trigger the civil rights movement — and decades later was found rusting in a shed — will arrive at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2015 when it opens in the new year.
The glass-topped casket held the 14-year-old mutilated body of Emmett Till for 50 years after his 1955 lynching in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Till was beaten, tortured and shot in the head. His casket played a pivotal role in history, as his mother, Mamie Till Bradley, insisted against all kinds of pressure from Mississippi authorities that it be open for viewing and photographing. “I wanted the world to see what they did to my baby,” she has famously said.
Till’s body was exhumed from Burr Oak Cemetery in 2005 when the FBI tried to find possible accomplices in the killing. Till was reburied in a new casket. The original will now have a home at the Smithsonian as an important historical artifact.