His murder is widely considered the spark that ignited the civil rights movement.
And on Friday, a community honored his birth.
Emmett Till was born on in Chicago on July 25, 1941. At the age of 14, he visited the Mississippi Delta, where he was murdered for whistling at a white woman.
On what would have been his 73rd birthday, the Emmett Till Museum in Glendora invited the community for a program that included songs, dance, poetry and a free tour.
The museum is in a building that was once the Glendora Gin. After his murder in 1955, a 75-pound fan was taken from the site and used to weigh his body down when it was dumped into the Tallahatchie River.
Less than two months after a jury of 12-white men acquitted Till's killers, Alabama seamstress Rosa Parks refused to give up a bus seat to a white man. Her arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which inspired other civil rights acitivity and gave national attention to the rise of Dr. Martin Luther King as a leader.