His brutal murder made him an icon of the civil rights movement.
Now the federal government has reopened its investigation into the death of black teenager Emmett Till.
63 years ago, the 14-year-old was lynched in Mississippi by two white men.
The Justice Department told Congress in a report in March it is reinvestigating Till’s death after receiving ‘new information.’
The case was officially closed in 2007 after both suspects died; a state grand jury decided not to file any new charges.
A Key Suspect Confessed She Lied
Emmett Till’s parents, Louis and Mamie have both sadly passed. But there are still many members of the Till family who have campaigned for justice. Deborah Watts is Till’s cousin and co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation.
However she was not told the case had been reopened until she was contacted by The Associated Press on Wednesday. Last year The New York Times best selling book ‘The Blood of Emmett Till,’ was released. A key figure in the case acknowledged in the book she lied about the events concerning the murder of the 14-year-old boy from Chicago.
The book, by Timothy B Tyson, quotes Carolyn Donham, stating she lied that Till grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances to her in a store in 1955. Till was abducted from his home and was beaten and shot. His mutilated body was found weighted down with a cotton gin fan in the Tallahatchie River.
Donham Is Still Alive
Donham’s then-husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother JW Milam were charged with murder. They were both acquitted of the murder Till. The men later confessed to the crime in a magazine interview, but weren’t retried. Both are now dead. Donham, who turns 84 this month, lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The reopening of the case has been met positively by civil right activists. Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay tweeted: “Carolyn Donham is an accomplice to a confessed murder and should be in prison. That’s been clear for decades now. But she’s lived her life as a free woman in the world. While
#EmmettTill hasn’t lived at all.”