There May Finally Be Justice for Emmett Till

Citing new information, the Justice Department is reopening its investigation into the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955.

The Associated Press is reporting that the case of Emmett Till’s murder is being reopened 11 years after it was closed by authorities who said the suspects were deceased.

Till, then only 14 years old, was brutally murdered in Money, Mississippi on August 28, 1955. Though it was clearly homicide, his killers have never been held accountable for their horrific actions.

So far, no one seems to know what the “new information” that prompted the case’s reopening might be.

However, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” a book published last year, indicates that a key suspect in the case openly admitted to lying about events that led up to Till’s death.

There is speculation that the book’s revelation that Carolyn Donham may have given false testimony could be what prompted the Justice Department to reopen the case.

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At the time, Donham claimed that Till had whistled at her and grabbed her, and that he had made unwanted sexual advances.

Donham’s husband at the time, Roy Bryant, was charged for the murder along with his half-brother, J.W. Milam, but both were later acquitted by an all-white jury.

Both men apparently admitted to the murder in a magazine interview, but weren’t retried for their crimes and later died.

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A photo of Till’s battered body hangs on the wall at the Chicago Historical Society, Till’s hometown

Till was kidnapped from his bed in the middle of the night, savagely beaten, and then shot.

They weighed down his body by tying a 75-pound cotton gin fan to his neck with barbed wire before tossing him into the Tallahatchie River.

Jurors said that “their ancestors would turn in their graves if they didn’t free these fine, white men.”

Although her son’s body had been horribly brutalized, Mamie Till-Mobley insisted that her son have an open-casket funeral so that the world could see what had happened to her baby, who had been savaged beyond recognition.

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While Donham’s husband may be dead, she’s still kicking at 84 years old and lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

And although a man who answered her door when FBI agents came to call said that they had nothing to tell the officers, it could be that Donham may be forced to reckon with the ghosts of her past before long.

This week Senator Dough Jones (D-AL) introduced legislation that would require the government to release information about unsolved civil rights killings.

Iron Triangle Press will continue to follow this story.

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