Emmett Till Case Reopened–Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied

Mamie Till Mobley views her son's mutilated remains. She requested that the casket be left open and images of the unaltered body were published globally by Jet Magazine in 1955.

In 1955, a 14-year-old Emmett Till traveled from Chicago to visit his family in Mississippi.  A white woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, accused him of whistling at her and making other sexual advances. Carolyn’s husband Roy and his half-brother, John W. Milam, proceeded to kidnap, viciously beat and murder Emmett Till before weighting his body down with a cotton gin fan and throwing his remains into Missisippi’s Tallahatchie River.

From the Associated Press (Jay Reeves):

A 2017 book that revealed lies by a key figure in the Emmett Till case has prompted the U.S government to renew its investigation into the brutal 1955 slaying, a federal official said Thursday [July 12, 2018].
…The book “The Blood of Emmett Till” by Timothy B. Tyson quotes a white woman, Carolyn (Bryant) Donham, as saying during a 2008 interview that she wasn’t truthful when she testified that the black teen grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances at a Mississippi store six decades ago.

Tyson told reporters Thursday that he was contacted by the FBI weeks after his book was published in January 2017, and he furnished them interview recordings and other research materials. He doesn’t think his research alone would support new charges but said investigators may be able to link it to other material in their possession.

Emmett Till’s Family has been calling for charges against Carolyn (Bryant) Donham ever since Tyson’s book was published.

There have been successes recently in reopening cold cases…

Preliminary Hearing in Spalding County on November 17, 2017 (Alyssa Pointer-AJC)

In Georgia just this past June (6/26/2018), Franklin Gebhardt was convicted of murdering Timothy Coggins.  It took 34 years to bring Gebhardt to justice.

Family members of Timothy Coggins embrace after conviction of Frank Gebhardt on June 26, 2018 (Hyosub Shin-AJC)

In 1983, Coggins was stabbed 30 times and then he was dragged behind a pickup truck with a thick metal chain wrapped around his neck.  Gebhardt and his brother-in-law, William Moore Sr. (who is scheduled to go to trial in August 2018) allegedly bragged about murdering Coggins to their girlfriends and other acquaintances.

Gebhardt and Moore are no different than half-brothers Roy Bryant and John W. Milam who were acquitted of murdering Emmett Till but went on to brag about how they killed Till in a magazine interview.

Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam died years ago and escaped “earthly” justice.  Based on a study by the US Justice Department, “Only 5% of cold cases ever produce an arrest.  Of those, only 1% end in conviction.”  Justice delayed is justice denied.

While there has been recent progress in reopening cold cases and bringing culprits to justice, the sudden reopening of Emmett Till’s case remains suspicious.

Even Timothy Tyson, the author of the book responsible for triggering the investigation’s renewal, said, “the timing of the announcement had more to do with creating a distraction from controversy over the Trump administration’s policies related to immigration and other civil rights issues.”  Is Donald Trump once again race-baiting to distract the public from other issues?

While researching this story, it was also discovered that a marker on the river where Emmett Till’s body was found has also been vandalized in a similar manner as Mary Turner’s marker in Valdosta, Georgia.

Emmett Till and Mary Turner’s markers side-by-side (Till’s Marker photographed by Dave Tell of the Emmett Till Memory Project)

There’s a link between the sentiments that fuel vandalism of civil rights monuments and those that fuel support for Trump…[White] resentment can be a powerful motivator — not just of headline-grabbing destructive behavior like this but also of political choices.

If you believe [these] theories that racial hostility and anxiety could motivate a person to destroy the Till memorial, it’s not hard to see a connection to the sentiments that have helped fuel Donald Trump’s improbable rise to become his party’s nominee.
Jenée Desmond-Harris of Vox Media

We will monitor these cases closely.

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