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100th birthday of Mamie Till-Mobley, mother of Emmett Till, marked with creation of new institute at Northwestern

Shanzeh Ahmad, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

“Mamie Till-Mobley opened that casket and opened our eyes,” Benson said. “She wanted to make sure we could never turn away again from our responsibility for racial reconciliation.”

The institute will be home to youth-oriented programs that focus on crafting a better understanding of social issues that have been and are currently present in society.

A number of relatives as well as family friends are on the institute’s board of directors.

Some of the projects in motion as part of a yearlong commemoration of the Tills include:

Acquiring and restoring historical sites in Till’s story, including the spot of the Tallahatchie where Till’s body was recovered.


A partnership with the Boston-based nonprofit Facing History and Ourselves and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation to develop high school curriculum surrounding the story of Till and its significance.

Working with partners to create a noncontiguous national park in the Mississippi Delta and on Chicago’s South Side in honor of Till and Till-Mobley.

Participating as consultants on a six-part ABC-TV series, “Women of the Movement,” based on the story of Till-Mobley, as well as a three-part ABC documentary on Till. Jay-Z and Will Smith are two of the executive producers of the series, scheduled to premiere Jan. 6.


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