This piece was painted in partnership with Loyola University's Black Alumni Board. I wanted to create a piece that honored Mamie Till and reflected her courage and strength. The Rambler colors of maroon and gold to reflect her elegance, grace, and strength.
The Strength of a Mother: For Mamie (2022)
Acrylic on Canvas
After her son's murder, it became quickly evident that Till-Mobley was an effective public speaker. She enjoyed a close relationship with many African-American media outlets, and the NAACP hired her to go on a speaking tour around the country and share her son's story. This was one of the most successful fundraising tours in NAACP history, though it was cut short by a business dispute with NAACP executive secretary Roy Wilkins over payment for her being on tour. Till-Mobley continued speaking out, and in an effort to influence the jury during the trial of her son's murderers she flew to Mississippi and provided testimony.
Till-Mobley's activism extended far beyond what she did in the wake of her son's death. However, since her Emmett's death became symbolic of the lynchings of the mid-1950s, she remains most well-known in that context. For this, and all her activism, Till-Mobley was able to use her role as a mother to relate to other people, and gain support for the cause of racial justice.
A large part of her work and activism centered around education, as she advocated for children living in poverty for over 40 years, including 23 years teaching in the Chicago public school system. Ms. Till-Mobley established "The Emmett Till Players," a theater group that worked with school children outside of the classroom, learning and performing famous speeches by civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr to inspire hope, unity, and determination to their audiences.