A road sign for the Emmett Till Museum.

REI celebrates the designation of the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument

The protection and preservation of these sites helps tell the full truth of American history.

Jul 26, 2023

REI Co-op celebrates the establishment of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument. The new monument tells the story of Emmett Till's life and horrific murder, and honors his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, who helped catalyze the modern civil rights movement by casting global attention on the brutal injustices of mid-century America.

Just one-quarter of U.S. national parks and monuments are dedicated to telling the stories of diverse communities, according to the Center for American Progress.  

REI has committed to becoming a fully inclusive, anti-racist, multicultural organization. As part of this commitment, the co-op has been supporting community-led efforts to establish culturally significant places as monuments, including the Avi Kwa Ame and Castner Range National Monuments. The protection and preservation of these sites helps tell the full truth of American history by amplifying the voices of communities who have been historically and systemically disenfranchised.  

This new monument—formally established on what would have been Emmett Till’s 82nd birthday—comprises three historic sites in Illinois and Mississippi. 

  • Graball Landing outside of Glendora, Mississippi: The location where Emmett Till’s body was retrieved from the Tallahatchie River. Community-led efforts to memorialize this site have been vandalized and removed many times since 2008. 

  • Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago: On September 3, 1955 Mamie Till-Mobley held an open-casket funeral for her son, where as many as 125,000 people bore witness to the atrocities committed against him. Images from the funeral spurred countless others to mobilize for change. 

  • Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi: The location of the 1955 trial of Roy Bryant and Jay W. Milan. An all-white jury acquitted the two men in this segregated courtroom. The two men later admitted to the crime, but were never held legally accountable.  

We applaud the work of the Till family, community and civil rights leaders across Mississippi and Illinois, local, state, and federal elected officials, and the collaborative efforts of the National Park Foundation, National Parks Service, and the Emmett Till Interpretive Center who worked to protect these sites and make them publicly accessible for learning, reconciliation and national healing.  

Join us via the Cooperative Action Network as we work alongside partners to establish additional monuments, such asBaaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.

About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 24 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. In addition to the co-op’s many stores across the country, outdoor enthusiasts can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. Everyone is welcome to shop REI, but members who join the co-op enjoy a range of benefits. More than a retailer, REI is a purpose-driven and values-led company dedicated to enabling life outside for all.