Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The photo of Mamie Till Mobley mourning over her son’s open coffin was a catalyst for the civil rights movement. (Photo: Chicago Sun-Times, via Associated Press)

While 'Scar of Injustice' Lingers and Racist Violence Persists, DOJ Reopens 1955 Murder Case of Emmett Till

"Some have told us to move on, it's too late! Is it really too late for us to pursue justice?"

Jon Queally

The case into the 1955 kidnapping, torture, and murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till—whose killing helped galvanize opposition to racism in the South and fueled the Civil Rights movement—has been reopened by the U.S. Justice Department, news outlets reported Wednesday.

"The scar of injustice is deep, but we are convinced that if we can get justice and make this right for Emmett, America can begin to heal." —Deborah Watts, Emmett Till Legacy Foundation According to the Associated Press:

The Justice Department told Congress in a report in March it is reinvestigating Till’s slaying in Money, Mississippi, in 1955 after receiving “new information.” The case was closed in 2007 with authorities saying the suspects were dead; a state grand jury didn’t file any new charges.

Deborah Watts, a cousin of Till, said she was unaware the case had been reopened until contacted by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The federal report, sent annually to lawmakers under a law that bears Till’s name, does not indicate what the new information might be.

In an op-ed earlier this month, Till's cousin Deborah Watts, founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, argued that holding those guilty of Emmett's murder—even after more than 60 years—is as essential and necessary as it ever was. Citing Timothy B. Tyson's recently-published book "The Blood of Emmett Till"—which the AP reporting speculates could be at least part of the reason the DOJ has reopened the case—Watts wrote, "Some have told us to move on, it's too late! Is it really too late for us to pursue justice?"

She concluded:

Who will now stand with us to make sure there is justice for Emmett? 

There are so many other deaths that have gone unsolved. The justice system needs to right the wrongs done and work for us and other African-Americans and their families. No family should ever have to endure this pain and injustice for this long.

We are committed to continue to tell Emmett's story and our stories, educate and empower our youth, preserve the legacy of Emmett and his mother, fight for justice, remind the nation to never forget, and ask everyone to join us in pledging never again! 

The scar of injustice is deep, but we are convinced that if we can get justice and make this right for Emmett, America can begin to heal. 

The clock is ticking. Will you join our call for justice now?

 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New Legal Campaign Aims to Protect People and Nature From Polluters' 'Irreparable Damage'

"States must listen to communities' demands to recognize the human right to a healthy environment and better regulate businesses with respect to the impacts of their operations."

Jessica Corbett ·


'You Tell Me What We Should Cut': Sanders Not Budging on $3.5 Trillion

"Poll after poll tells me, and tells you, that what we are trying to do is enormously popular."

Jake Johnson ·


Biden Set to Admit Even Fewer Refugees Than Trump's Record Low

The "paltry" number of those admitted so far would be well below the 62,500 ceiling President Joe Biden had set for the current fiscal year.

Andrea Germanos ·


In 'Landmark' Decision, EPA Finalizes Rule Cutting Use of Super-Pollutant HFCs

The regulation will drastically curb the use of "the most potent super-pollutants known to mankind at the moment," one climate campaigner said.

Julia Conley ·


Biden's Envoy to Haiti Resigns in Protest Over 'Inhumane' Deportations

The Biden administration's move to ramp up deportations at a time of overlapping crises will "add to Haiti's unacceptable misery," wrote Daniel Foote.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo