Senate passes bill to posthumously award Emmett Till and his mother with Congressional Gold Medal
(CNN) The Senate on Tuesday passed a bipartisan bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to Emmett Till, a teenager savagely killed in 1955 by White supremacists in Mississippi, and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, who decided to have an open-casket funeral because she "wanted the world to see what they did to my baby."
The posthumous recognition comes more than a month after the Justice Department officially closed its investigation into the infamous killing of Till .
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division concluded it could not prove Carolyn Bryant Donham, the woman at the center of the case, lied to federal investigators more than 60 years ago.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat, and North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican, introduced the bill in September 2020 and reintroduced the legislation for the 117th Congress last year.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor Congress can give.
"His gruesome murder still serves as a solemn reminder of the terror and violence experienced by Black Americans throughout our nation's history," Booker said in a statement .
"The courage and activism demonstrated by Emmett's mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, in displaying to the world the brutality endured by her son helped awaken the nation's conscience, forcing America to reckon with its failure to address racism and the glaring injustices that stem from such hatred."
He continued, "More than six decades after his murder, I am proud to see the Senate pass long-overdue legislation that would award the Congressional Gold Medal to both Emmett and Mamie Till-Mobley in recognition of their profound contributions to our nation."