In October, a Mississippi historical marker for Emmett Till was riddled with bullet holes in an act of vandalism.
Now, less than a year later, a second state historical marker has been defaced, destroying information about the black teenager whose name became a civil rights rallying cry after he was kidnapped and murdered in 1955, according to the Associated Press.
The sign, unveiled in 2011, is part of the Mississippi Freedom Trail, a route that includes landmarks highlighting the state’s African American history. It stands within yards of the business — Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market in the town of Money — where Carolyn Bryant, a 21-year-old white shopkeeper, alleged that Till offended her.
“Who knows what motivates people to do this?” Allan Hammons, the owner of a public relations firm that produced the sign. “Vandals have been around since the beginning of time.”
Mississippi civil rights markers are often the targets of racist vandalism, the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson reported in October:
After Emmett Till Memorial Highway was dedicated along a 32-mile stretch of U.S. 49 East in 2006, vandals painted “KKK” on the Emmett Till highway sign.
After the Mississippi historical marker recognizing the Ku Klux Klan’s 1964 killings of three civil rights workers — James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner — was unveiled in 2009, it became a repeated target, too.
First, vandals painted the sign black. Then they painted “KKK” on the sign. In 2013, they stole the sign.
Hammons told the AP that the sign has been vandalized as recently as May, when it was “scratched with a blunt tool.” The latest defacement involved someone pulling “vinyl panels” with words and images of Till off the back of the marker, he said.