New Smithsonian site to house Till casket

Aug. 27, 2009 at 2:26 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The director of the Smithsonian Institution's new African-American museum says his site will house the casket of slain civil rights figure Emmett Till.

Lonnie Bunch III, director of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, said in a news release he is proud the surviving members of Till's family have entrusted the museum with the casket, the Chicago Tribune said Thursday.

"We are both honored and humbled that the Till family has entrusted this sacred object to the museum for preservation and safekeeping," Bunch said.

The casket that once held Till's body was found discarded last month at Burr Oak Cemetery near Alsip, Ill. Till, whose body was reburied following a 2004 exhumation, was lynched at the age of 14 in Money, Miss., for whistling at a white woman.

The news of the casket's relocation to the Smithsonian comes as Till's family is set to gather Friday to honor the 54th anniversary of the teen's death.

"If it's true it's great news for the family and for all that happened in Burr Oak ... I can't think of a better place to put it," Till's cousin, Simeon Wright, told the Tribune of the museum plan.

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