A historical sign on the Mississippi Freedom Trail memorializing the lynching of African-American Emmett Till has been vandalized, according to The Clarion-Ledger.
The sign, which was erected by Mississippi tourism officials in 2011, reportedly had most of its photographs and texts scraped off.
“This time, it’s not someone with a shotgun or somebody trying to tear down the sign,” said David Houck, a member of the Emmett Till Memory Project.
“This time, it’s more sinister because it’s carefully thought out. It’s not a defacing, but an erasing.”
Twitter users on Monday voiced emotions ranging from outrage to sadness over reports the marker had been defaced.
Allan Hammons, whose Greenwood, MS company has handles the marker’s maintenance, said this is the first instance of an attack against the sign like this.
“Was this racially motivated?” he asked of the marker, adding it cost $8,500 to erect. “Who knows?”
“Vandalism has been going on since the beginning of time,” he added, noting replacing the sign would cost less than $500. “Sadly, it’s the nature of the world.”
The Clarion-Ledger reported that last fall a separate Till sign marking the spot along the Tallahatchie River where his body was discovered was shot multiple times.
An all-white, all-male jury acquitted half-brothers Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam of murder in Till’s death on Sept. 23, 1955.
Till, 14, was abducted, beaten and killed in Money, MS in August 1955 after allegedly whistling at Carolyn Bryant, 21, a white woman married to a grocery store owner there.
The teenager’s brutal death ultimately made him an icon of the civil rights movement, and Money reportedly apologized to Till’s family in 2007.