Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

‘New Information’ Leads DOJ to Reopen Emmett Till Murder Case

‘New Information’ Leads DOJ to Reopen Emmett Till Murder Case

An investigation into the murder of a black teenager who was lynched after allegedly flirting with a white woman in 1955 has been reopened by the federal USA government.

The DOJ's move to reopen the case came after "receiving new information", it said in a report to Congress.

Pictures of his mutilated body during his funeral helped spark the civil rights movement, AP noted.

Last year, Vanity Fair published an article in which author and Duke University scholar Timothy Tyson said Carolyn Bryant - by then, Carolyn Bryant Donham - confessed she made up the most damning part of her story. Till was just 14 years old visiting family in MS when a white woman said he had made crude sexual advances toward her. They later admitted to a magazine they had killed Till.

Mississippi District Attorney Dewayne Richardson, whose circuit oversees the community in which Emmett was abducted, offered his opinion on the development. Can you just describe how she remembers this very brief encounter between Emmett Till and her?

Ms Bryant also said he told her "you don't need to be afraid of me", alleging he used an obscenity and mentioning something he had done "with white women before".

"When I heard that she said he didn't do anything worthy of death and heard she said she didn't tell the truth I was pleased and satisfied", commented Till's cousin.

According to the Associated Press, Carolyn Bryant - who will turn 84 years old this month and goes by Carolyn Donham - lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. But it was issued in March following the publication past year of "The Blood of Emmett Till".

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Now, the Department of Justice is re-opening an investigation into Till's death.

Images of the child's brutalized body in a casket were widely shared at the time, shining a light on racial hatred in the Deep South and invigorating the civil rights movement.

Donham, then 21 and known as Carolyn Bryant, testified in 1955 as a prospective defence witness in the trial of Bryant and Milam. An all-white jury freed her husband and the other man even without it. "That part's not true", Donham was revealed as admitting.

In his 2008 interview with the woman who alleged Till flirted with her, she said that nothing Till did "could ever justify what happened to him". "He said [he had] done something with white women before", she said.

"We don't know anything".

The Duke University scholar says he shared materials including recordings of 2008 interviews with a white woman, Carolyn Donham, acknowledging that she wasn't truthful when she testified that Till made sexual advances at a MS store in 1955. Bryant said she pulled away, and moments later the young man "caught me at the cash register", grasping her around the waist with both hands and pulling her toward him.

Though a judge ruled Carolyn's testimony inadmissible in court, her husband and Milam were quickly acquitted.

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