Opinion | Emmett Till's unpunished lynching is an American disgrace

Justice Department's closure of Emmett Till case ends what little hope for justice that remained more than 65 years after the 1955 lynching.

Msnbc

12/8/2021 7:14:00 PM

.jarvisdeberry: Mississippi failed when it acquitted the men who boasted about killing Emmet Till. But the U.S. military played its part too.

Justice Department's closure of Emmett Till case ends what little hope for justice that remained more than 65 years after the 1955 lynching.

05:26The Justice Department on Monday closed a recent investigation into Till’s lynching without charging anyone. Because it was even harder in the 1950s and the 1960s to convict white people who murder Black people, the Justice Department has a cold case division that has occasionally brought some measure of justice to killers who faced juries fundamentally opposed to conviction. But in the case of Till’s murderers, someone with access to military files made it even less likely that his killers would be punished. While they were on trial on kidnapping and murder charges, someone leaked a confidential military file to the press indicating that Till’s father, Louis Till, a U.S. soldier in Italy during World War II, was hanged by the Army in 1945 for rape and murder.

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Which isn’t necessarily proof that Private Louis Till was guilty.The Army hanged a disproportionately high number of Black servicemen on accusations of sexual misconduct, so disproportionately high that we have every reason to suspect that racist stereotypes about Black men were driving the numbers the same way those stereotypes resulted in so many Black bodies swinging from tree limbs. John Edgar Wideman, who reveals exculpatory evidence that casts serious doubt on Louis Till’s guilt in his 2016 book, “

Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File,” visited a section of a French cemetery reserved for executed U.S. servicemen as he researched that book. He found that 83 of the 96 who had been executed were Black.It was even harder in the 1950s and the 1960s to convict white people who murder Black people. headtopics.com

The U.S. Army War College had previously published a report finding that Negro soldiers were “unmoral and untruthful” in addition to being “careless, shiftless, irresponsible and secretive." We can connect that racist belief with the result: Black soldiers, who were no more than 10 percent of soldiers during World War II, accounted for 86 percent of those the Army deemed deserving of execution.

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We should view the War College’s report and the execution of the elder Till as proof that the U.S. military believed as strongly as the state of Mississippi did that Black men were inherently criminal. But the release of the father’s file destroyed any chance that Emmett Till’s killers would be convicted of kidnapping. They lived out their days as unrepentant and unpunished murderers.

That’s why the Justice Department’s announcement in 2018 that it had reopened the Till case didn’t cause any excitement. What was the point of reopening the case in 2018 when Bryant and Milam were long dead? According to a memo the Justice Department sent to Congress, the “

Till case has been re-opened by DOJ based upon the discovery of new information.” The only publicly known new information had come from historian Timothy Tyson, who, in his book “The Blood of Emmett Till,” quotes the star witness in the case as disavowing her testimony. Carolyn Bryant Donham had testified that Till grabbed her around her waist and rudely propositioned her, but according to Tyson, she told him in an interview:"That part's not true. You tell these stories for so long that they seem true, but that part is not true." headtopics.com

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Upon publication of Tyson’s book, Donham denied having made such a confession. Tyson maintains that she did.March 28, 201704:36The Justice Department said in a memo Monday that it was impossible to prove that the woman at the center of the country’s most infamous lynching had ever lied to investigators. From that memo: “What is clear from all accounts is that [Donham]

suffered no physical harmand that Till’s conduct was likely perceived by many in the white community to violate their unwritten code, prevalent in the Jim Crow South, that Black men were forbidden from initiating interactions with white women.”The Justice Department memo’s attempt to explain that there were unwritten codes in the South complements a common explanation of Till’s interaction with Donham in that store. According to that explanation, because Till grew up in Chicago and not Mississippi, he didn’t know the rules dictated by segregation. And thus, such speculation goes, Till blithely interacted with a white woman without sufficient caution.

But Chicago was (and still is) segregated! And Tyson is spot-on when he writes in “The Blood of Emmett Till” that “it defies the imagination that a fourteen-year-old from 1950s Chicago could really be ignorant of the consequences of the color of his skin.” He knew segregation and the machinery dedicated to enforcing it because he was a Black person raised in the U.S.

Though the Justice Department blames the South for Till’s death, we shouldn’t accept its attempt to dismiss the South as some other country.Though the Justice Department blames Donham and the South for Till’s death, we shouldn’t accept its attempt to dismiss the South as some other country. As was indicated by the Army report labeling Black men as inherently immoral and as was indicated by the outrageously disproportionate number of Black servicemen executed for rape, the stereotypes about Black men weren’t endemic to any particular region. The Army put the boy’s father to death despite exculpatory evidence. And that information was then put to nefarious use, making the acquittal of his son’s killers even more likely than it already was. headtopics.com

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jarvisdeberry Funny how you don't make the Wisconsin parade tragedy racial or the recent stabbing to death of a white student outside Columbia University for no reason by a black gang member with a lengthy rap sheet. Seems it doesn't even make the news.

Justice Department closes inquiry into murder of Emmett Till, finds no proof accuser liedNEW: A federal investigation that reexamined the murder of Emmett Till has concluded after the Justice Dept. failed to find proof a key figure in the case lied, a senior level law enforcement official tells NBCNews. DOJ couldn’t prove it. And statute of limitations ran out decades ago. This is a 66 year old case what did anyone expect.

Emmett Till investigation closed by Justice DepartmentThe U.S. Justice Department told relatives of Emmett Till on Monday that it is ending its latest investigation into the 1955 lynching of the Black teenager from Chicago who was abducted, tortured and killed after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman in Mississippi. A person familiar with the matter informed The Associated Press about the closure of the investigation and the meeting with Till's family. The department reopened an investigation after a 2017 book quoted a key figure, Carolyn Bryant Donham, as saying she lied when she claimed that 14-year-old Till grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances while she was working in a store in the small community of Money.

Emmett Till investigation closed by Justice Department | AP NewsWASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department told relatives of Emmett Till on Monday that it is ending its latest investigation into the 1955 lynching of the Black teenager from Chicago who was abducted, tortured and killed after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman in Mississippi. With the Justice Department ending its investigation into the infamous 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, one of the slain Black teen's cousins says she is heartbroken but not surprised that no new charges are being brought. Like seriously: you’re never gonna get “justice” from the United States Government on issues like this:

Family of Emmett Till to speak about final report on his deathRemember KimDavis! NEW: In a report shared with the family of Emmett Till, the Justice Department said that its investigation had not found enough evidence to support a new federal prosecution in the 14-year-old’s murder. Nice race baiting story.

Justice Department closes investigation into Emmett Till killingThe Justice Department has officially closed its investigation into the infamous of killing Emmett Till for a second time, two sources familiar with the investigation said, leaving only more questions after a potentially significant claim from one of the last living witnesses led investigators on a fresh hunt for evidence. Woman who said Till was flirting and messing with her is still alive. This isn't ancient history. Regardless if he flirted, that is enough for child to be brutally beaten to death by grown men and them found not guilty in trial that lasted like 2minutes? Donald Trump’s America

U.S. ends probe into Emmett Till lynching, unable to prove witness liedThe U.S. government on Monday said it failed to prove a crucial witness lied 66 years ago in the lynching death of Black teen Emmett Till in Mississippi, closing without charges its probe into the killing that helped ignite the civil rights movement.