Published: Fri, July 13, 2018

New Intel Prompts U.S. Government To Reopen Emmett Till Investigation

New Intel Prompts U.S. Government To Reopen Emmett Till Investigation

During the summer of 1955 Emmett Till was visiting his family in MS when the Chicago teen encountered a white woman at a store who claimed he whistled at her and touched her inappropriately.

According to the Associated Press, the federal government has reopened the investigation into Till's murder.

Bryant told Tyson that she "felt tender sorrow" for Till's mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, who fought for civil rights and died in 2003.

After Till's alleged crime, Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam allegedly pulled Till from his bed in the middle of the night, dragged him to the back of a pickup truck and beat him almost to death before shooting him in the head.

The case was closed in 2007, with authorities saying the suspects were dead.

The Justice Department announced it had received new information about the murder of Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi and is re-investigating the case.

Joyce Chiles, a former district attorney in MS who was involved in a mid-2000s review of the Till case, presented the case to a grand jury and asked that Donham be charged with manslaughter, but the panel did not return any indictments.

Two white men - Donham's then-husband, Roy Bryant, and his half brother, J.W. Milam - were charged with murder but acquitted in the slaying of the Chicago teen, who had been staying with relatives in northern MS at the time. Two men who confessed to killing Emmett, only after they had been acquitted by an all-white jury in MS, are dead. An all-white jury freed her husband and the other man even without it. Testimony indicated a woman might have been in a vehicle with Bryant and Milam when they abducted Till, but no one else was ever charged.


After Look Magazine published Bryant and Milam's confession, the two were rejected by friends and supporters around the country.

Donham, who will be 84 this month, now lives in Raleigh, N.C. and declined comment to the AP. The entire tragedy became a focal point in the Civil Rights movement, and is still a cautionary tale of America's history today.

Deborah Watts, cousin of Emmett Till, says all the family has ever wanted was justice and hope for a better tomorrow. Images of his mutilated body gave witness to the depth of racial hatred in the Deep South and helped build momentum for subsequent civil rights campaigns. But Parker says the discussion likely occurred after the release of a book that raised questions about the Till case previous year.

Donham, then 21 and known as Carolyn Bryant, testified in 1955 as a prospective defence witness in the trial of Bryant and Milam.

"He said, 'How about a date, baby?'" she testified, according to a trial transcript released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation a decade ago.

A judge ruled the testimony inadmissible. "Can't you take it?" she recalled his saying. An all-white jury freed her husband and the other man even without it. In the book, author Tyson wrote that Donham told him her testimony about Till accosting her wasn't true.

Parker is 79 and the conversation occurred months ago, and he says he has a hard time remembering details. But if something's out there, we want to know it, you know? "We're just like everyone else, waiting for new information", Parker said in a phone interview from Mississippi.

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