Till was visiting relatives in the Mississippi Delta in 1955, when he was kidnapped from a relative's home after an encounter with a white woman at a country store. He was tortured and later shot, with his body found weighted down by a cotton gin fan in the Tallahatchie River. His mother insisted on an open-casket funeral in Chicago, letting people see her son's corpse and electrifying public opinion.
An all-white jury in Mississippi acquitted two white men in the crime.
» Justice Department reopens Emmett Till murder case 63 years after gruesome murder
"This particular area will go forward in the long run," commission treasurer Rev. Willie Williams told CNN. "Because this legacy and this story, it's much bigger than any of us."
The three Kappa Alpha Order boys from the photo have since been suspended from their fraternity, a group that has long been associated with Old South and Confederate imagery and still claims Confederate Robert E. Lee as its spiritual founder.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.