The Department of Justice announced last week that they will be reopening the Emmett Till murder case after receiving new information they have yet to disclose.
14-year-old Till was visiting his family in Mississippi in August of 1955 when he was murdered by two white men for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Till’s body was found in the Tallahatchie River — he had been beaten, shot in the head, and tied to a cotton gin fan. Till’s mother Mamie Bradley held an open casket funeral so people could witness the brutality of her son’s murder.
The husband of the woman Till allegedly harassed, Roy Bryant, and his brother-in-law, J.W. Milam, were put on trial for the murder and were found not guilty by an all-white jury.
Till’s murder is widely cited as one of the sparks that helped ignite the civil rights movement.
Reverends Emmett Price and Irene Monroe addressed the the DOJ’s decision to reopen the case on Boston Public Radio Monday during another edition of All Revved Up.
Monroe said the reopening of the the case could potentially bring some closure to the Till family. “It will bring some peace to the Emmett Till family,” she said. “ Justice moves slow, and there is no time like the present to do the right thing. ... Even if all the main principle players are gone, we are still addressing this issue.”
Price was more skeptical of the DOJ’s motives in light of the racial animus that has arisen since President Trump has taken office. Price believes the administration could possibly use its involvement with this case as a way to deflect accusations of racism.
“I think this is an attempt to put a whole lot of tension in an area that won’t reach any resolution, just to say that they’ve done it,” he said. “This is such a large case, by just touching it, it says we care, and that’s the wrong message.”
This article has been updated.