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Let the World See exhibit logo

Exhibit Dates: Jan. 26 - Mar. 12, 2023

Location: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, Great Hall

Touring to seven locations in 2022-2023, Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley: Let the World See is a traveling exhibit recommended for visitors ages 10 and up that shares the story of how a mother's bravery and fight for justice more than six decades ago fueled the civil rights movement in America and provides a framework for people and communities committed to racial healing.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library was honored to be the only public library on the exhibit's nationwide tour. During January and February, the library offered a variety of complementary programs, including a companion exhibit Mothers of the Movement, using material from The People's Archive, in collaboration with local advisers.

Read select press and access further information about the exhibit below. 

About the Exhibit

Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley

Emmett Till was just a child when he was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by white supremacists in the Jim Crow South in 1955. When the perpetrators tried to cover it up, Emmett’s mother, Mamie, insisted that the world know what they did to her son. She bravely shared her 14-year-old son’s story with all who would listen—and fueled a movement that changed the nation. Much progress has been made since 1955; however, Mamie Till-Mobley’s work is far from over. 

Created in collaboration with the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Institute, the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the Till family, and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley: Let The World See, tells the story of Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, challenging visitors to make a ripple for justice in their own communities. 

After touring, the exhibit will be a permanent destination at the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Sumner, MI. You can also take a virtual tour on the official exhibit website, including in-depth videos and interviews. 

Companion Exhibit | Mothers of the Movement

Installation View, Mothers of the Movement exhibit

Each venue on the exhibit tour was invited to contribute local content in response to the prompt, "What are the difficult truths in your community's history? And how can you help your community remember it and strive for social change?"

In response, the DC Public Library developed a companion exhibit, Mothers of the Movement, using material from The People's Archive, in collaboration with local advisers. The exhibit uplifts the role Black women activists in our region have had, standing at the front lines to combat lynchings and police brutality for more than a century. It seeks to raise awareness of the ongoing issue of racial violence in our region and to center the perspectives of mothers and families fighting for justice today.

The exhibit Mothers of the Movement was designed by art dept. in collaboration with To Be Done Studio. The DC Public Library Exhibits Team extends a special thanks to the Mothers of the Movement Advisory Committee, and participating mothers for their support of this exhibit.

Photo Credit: To Be Done Studio

Opening Event

The DC Public Library hosted a special opening event for Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley: Let the World See, on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. The event featured remarks by DC Public Library Executive Director Richard Reyes-Gavilan and the Honorable Mayor Muriel Bowser; a moving keynote by Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., the cousin and best friend of Emmett Till and a panel discussion about the role of the media in disseminating and keeping alive the story of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley, including:

  • Ayesha Rascoe, NPR Weekend Edition and Up First
  • Denise Rolark Barnes, Publisher and Second-Generation Owner of The Washington Informer
  • Dr. Amber Hewitt, Chief Equity Officer for the Government of the District of Columbia and the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Racial Equity
  • David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition
  • Vann R. Newkirk II, Senior Editor of The Atlantic

You can watch the event on demand on Youtube or by clicking play on the embedded video below. 

Selected Press Coverage