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The relatives of Emmett Till are still asking authorities to reopen the case of the 1955 lynching that left the then 14-year-old boy tortured and killed.
In December, the U.S. Justice Department said they were ending their investigation into the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, despite one of the central figures in the case still being alive and never prosecuted.
Till’s relatives presented Mississippi authorities with a petition signed by over 250,000 people requesting a renewed probe of the lynching last week,
“Time is not on our side,” said Deborah Watts, a cousin of Till and leader of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation.
Carolyn Bryant Donham, who is now in her 80s, was the White lady that Till had allegedly whistled at before being abducted, tortured, and killed by a White mob.
Federal officials reopened the investigation into the lynching after the release of a 2017 book quoted Donham as saying she lied back in 1955 when she claimed Till accosted her. Till’s relatives denied that Donham ever recanted her allegations, and according to the Justice Department, Donham told the FBI that she had never changed her story.
The Justice Department investigated author Timothy B. Tyson, who wrote “The Blood of Emmett Till”. They couldn’t find any evidence of Donham admitting to recanting her statement. Tyson was unable to produce any recordings or transcripts to back up his account in his book of Donham admitting to lying about her encounter with Till.
Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act
Congress recently passed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act, making lynching a federal hate crime.
The bill is 100 years in the making, with Congress having tried to pass anti-lynching legislation over 200 times.
In a statement, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), applauded his colleagues for “overwhelmingly passing the Emmett Till Antilynching Act.”
Rep. Rush said the bill was “long-overdue legislation that would correct a historical injustice by finally specifying lynching as a crime under federal law.”
It’s unlikely an investigation into the 1955 lynching will be reopened by the Justice Department for a second time, but Mississippi Govenor Tate Reeves still believes those involved with the teen’s lynching should be brought to justice.
“The lynching of any teenager is of significance and certainly something that we as a society should do anything in our power to make sure that we bring anyone that committed that crime, or any other, to justice,” said Gov. Reeves.