purple sign with bullet holes and a paragraph of white text that begins "River Site: This is the site where Emmett Till's body was removed from the river."

Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley: Let the World See

Dolph Simons Family Gallery, 316; The Estelle S. & Robert A. Long Ellis Foundation Gallery, 315

"Let the world see what they did to my boy” were the heart-wrenching words spoken by Mamie Till-Mobley, who insisted on an open casket for her 14-year-old son. Emmett Till was brutally tortured and murdered for whistling at a white woman while visiting family in Money, Mississippi in 1955.

This traveling exhibition tells the story of Emmett and his mother, whose brave actions fueled the Civil Rights Movement. The show covers Emmett’s childhood, kidnapping, murder, funeral, and the ongoing legacy of these events. A bullet-ridden historical marker noting the location where Emmett’s body was removed from the Tallahatchie River reminds viewers that while progress has been made since 1955, there is still much work to be done. Learning about ongoing racism and violence can motivate and empower visitors to make a ripple for justice in their own communities.

The companion exhibition One History, Two Versions shares works by contemporary Black artists that expand on themes from Let the World See, including Black life, Black love, media representation, and activism.

Let the World See is a collaboration of the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Institute, the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the Till family, and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. It is recommended for ages 10+.

This project was made possible in part by The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom, the Maddox Foundation in Hernando, MS, The Institute for Museum and Library Services [MH-249226-OMS-21], and The Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior [15.904].

This exhibition and related programming are co-sponsored by the KU Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging; the KU Office of the Provost; the KU Office of Research; the KU Hall Center for the Humanities; KU African and African-American Studies; KU Department of Communication Studies; the Langston Hughes Center; KU Student Senate; the National Endowment for the Humanities; and Humanities Kansas, which connects Kansans with stories, ideas, and each other to strengthen our communities. Community partners include the Lawrence Chapter of the NAACP, the NAACP Youth Council of Lawrence, B.L.A.C.K. Lawrence, the Lawrence/Douglas County Community Remembrance Project Coalition, and Justice for Wyandotte. Additional funding comes from Friends of the Art Museum, the Linda Inman Bailey Exhibitions Fund, and Duane Morris LLP.

Image: Let the World See features this vandalized marker from the site where Emmett Till’s body was retrieved from the Tallahatchie River. Property of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.