Make your home page

Emmett Till exhibit opening at Children’s Museum: Let the World See

Editor’s note: The video above contains graphic imagery.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi nearly 70 years ago, and the sting of his death spurred civil rights then and now. The Children’s Museum is opening a new exhibit called Let the World See. Museum representatives say it’s meant to help children recognize the importance of his story and death.

Although it’s a tragic story, it’s been designed to be educational without being traumatic for young people. This exhibit is another part of the ongoing Power of Children initiative, which spotlights stories of children who changed the world.

Emmett Till’s mother Mamie Till made a choice that changed the world. Making the decision to “let the world see” how deep south racism led to her 14-year-old son’s death in 1955.

“Of course there is the pain, there’s the anger to some extent, and the fear that exists when we think about the past in the present, but this exhibit also inspires and encourages,” Benjamin Saulsberry, the public engagement and museum education director at the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Mississippi, said.

It sits right across the street from the courthouse where an all white male jury acquitted the two white men indicted in Emmett’s murder.

“It is imperative that young people know the story, and that young people are introduced to the truth,” he said.

The Children’s Museum has been working to put this exhibit together for quite a few years using resources and help from the Interpretive Center.

“It is not hyperbole to say the murder of Emmett Till absolutely is the preamble to the civil rights movement,” Saulsberry said.

In a sprawling space inside the Children’s Museum, the exhibit in part outlines Emmett’s trip down south, his murder, the trial, the civil right movement that followed and the tragedy’s impact today.

“I can’t even imagine where she got the strength and the courage to have the casket open,” Miss Indy Juneteenth Teresa Clay said.

The exhibit is geared towards kids 10 and up, but the truth of it all resonates with Clay. As a mother of a 15-year-old boy, she says it’s hard to fathom how and where Emmett’s mother got the strength to say yes, let the world see.

“We take it for granted but we stand on the shoulders of giants, and it’s our responsibility to continue to share the story, and to be a part of changes,” she said.

Clay and Saulsberry say they hope this exhibit spurs curiosity, and pushes people to do more.

“As a mom, we want to be able to protect our children, but we cannot live in fear, and we can’t teach them to be fearful,” Clay said.

News 8’s evening anchor, Alexis Rogers lent her voice to the exhibit, and it’ll help guide visitors along the way. The exhibit officially opens to the public Saturday.