Civil Rights historian hopes reopening Emmett Till case brings closure

Civil Rights historian hopes reopening Emmett Till case brings closure

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The 1955 murder of Emmett Till has been reopened.

On August 28, 1955, 14-year-old Till was abducted and lynched. That came just days after he was accused of whistling at Carolyn Bryant, a white woman.

Bryant's husband, Roy, and another man, J.W. Milam, were acquitted of Till's murder by an all-white, all-male jury in September 1955. The case was reopened in 2004 but ultimately ended with no changes.

Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department announced the case would be reopened once again.

"We're very optimistic and hopeful of what it will bring," Ryan Jones, historian with National Civil Rights Museum, said.

Jones said justice in Emmett Till's death has been a long time coming.

"The lynching of Emmett Till was the sacrificial lamb of the modern civil rights movement," Jones said.

A federal report sent to lawmakers under a law that has Till's name said the Justice Department is re-investigating Till's slaying after receiving "new information."

In 2017, a book called "The Blood of Emmett Till" was released revealing Carolyn Bryant admitted to lying about Till whistling at her.

The book's author, Timothy Tyson, spoke to the public Thursday about the Department of Justice's decision to once again look into the case.

Jones said it's possible the new information may involve Bryant.

"It's likely that it's something that's got to do with her--with her being the only surviving person involved directly to the case," Jones said.

Jones added that reopening the case would be a great opportunity to start racial reconciliation and bring closure to so many.

"Finally, gaining some sort of indictment and most importantly, conviction, we can finally put to rest one of the most heinous crimes in American history, and Emmett Till and his mother can finally rest in peace," Jones said.

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