Official says book led to reopening Till probe

Official says book led to reopening Till probe

The Department of Justice is reopening the investigation into the death of Emmett Till, a black teenager whose death helped inspire the Civil Rights movement.

The reopening of the Till case was disclosed in a federal report sent to lawmakers in March that said the Justice Department had received unspecified "new information".

The decision follows the publication last year of a book called The Blood Of Emmett Till, in which the woman admitted being untruthful when she gave evidence against the 14-year-old.

The renewed investigation was first revealed in a recent federal report, which didn't specify what new information investigators were acting on.

Emmett, a 14-year-old Chicago boy visiting family in MS in 1955, was brutally murdered after reportedly flirting with a white woman in a country store. Bryant and Milam were charged with the murder, but an all-white jury decided the men were innocent. Two men who confessed to killing Emmett, only after they had been acquitted by an all-white jury in MS, are dead.

"It's probably always an open case until all the parties have passed away", said District Attorney Dewayne Richardson, whose circuit includes the community where Till was abducted.

According to Biography, Till's mother Mamie Till had extraordinary success for a black woman in the 1920s and 30s, both with her schooling and her eventual career.

"She was glad things had changed (and she) thought the old system of white supremacy was wrong, though she had more or less taken it as normal at the time", Tyson told the magazine.

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It is not clear from the report what that information might be, but relatives of Till asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reopen the case after the book was published.

"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. That's in the blood of Emmett Till.

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. A man who answered the door to a reporter at her home declined to comment on the Justice Department's investigation.

Donham, then 21 and known as Carolyn Bryant, testified in 1955 as a prospective defence witness in the trial of Bryant and Milam. I don't know what's - we don't know. An all-white jury freed her husband and the other man even without it.

Donham, however, is still alive and admitted she lied about her encounter with Emmet.

"Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him", she reportedly said during a 2008 interview.

"But perjury has a two-year statute of limitations in MS, so she's been free and clear of that since 1958 or so", Tyson said. A judge ruled the testimony inadmissible.

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