Sunday, June 19, 2005

Emmett Till

Emmett Till died in 1955. In 2005, his body is finally being exhumed by the FBI. What took them so long to finally get around to doing this? 50 years. 50 years is a long time for the FBI to get around to this.

See, Emmett Till's death was a famous horrible brutal murder. His mother insisted on having an open-casket service to show the brutality and reality of his horrible racist death.

I've known about him since I was a kid. I first learned about Emmett when I visited Tonya's house few houses down the street on my block. Her mother, a tall strong black woman, always had stories to tell Tonya and me while tending to Tonya's hair, combing, pressing, adding product as needed and braiding. Tonya always had great hair, thanks to her mother. What's more was that Tonya and I learned more about the history of the Civic Rights Movement and Black History during these home hair sessions.

It was then that I first learned about the horror of how Emmett died. His face was bashed in, and his mother wanted people to remember what they did to him. This was an important historic event during the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.

What took the FBI so long to finally exhume Emmett and do an autopsy, after 50 too-long years? What does this say about our "American society?" Think about this.

After reading the article, I wanted to know more about how they were finally able to make this happen? Who was involved in making sure that an autopsy was finally done?
Just as important for the autopsy to happen is for us to know how they finally got around to doing this. We need to know how this worked out so we can make this happen for other overlooked cases. We owe much more than this to our fellow Americans who have been discriminated against for years. Our fellow white Americans need to know more about the truth of OUR "American History" rather than white people's American history.


FBI Exhumes Casket of Emmett Till
1955 Slaying Was a Key Event in History of the Civil Rights Movement


ALSIP, Ill. (June 1) - Nearly 50 years after Emmett Till's mutilated body was found in a Mississippi river, federal investigators Wednesday unearthed the Chicago teen's casket in hopes of finding clues to a murder that helped kindle the civil rights movement.

Mississippi prosecutors and the FBI have said DNA or other evidence might help determine who killed the black 14-year-old and whether anyone still alive should be prosecuted.

Till's body was found by fishermen in the Tallahatchie River in August 1955, three days after he was abducted from his uncle's home in Money, Miss., reportedly for whistling at a white woman.

FBI agents Wednesday loaded the mud-caked concrete vault containing Till's casket onto a flatbed truck and hauled it from a suburban cemetery to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office in Chicago for an autopsy. None was ever performed.

Investigators hope to determine the cause of Till's death and to ''see if any further evidence can be looked at to help Mississippi officials bring additional charges if warranted,'' FBI spokesman Frank Bochte said.

Two white men charged with the murder - store owner Roy Bryant and his half brother J.W. Milam - were acquitted by an all-white jury. The two, now dead, later confessed to beating and shooting Till, saying in a magazine article that they killed the teenager because he had whistled at Bryant's wife.

During the trial, defense attorneys suggested the body was not Till's and that the boy was still alive.

Simeon Wright, a cousin who was with Till the night he was abducted, said he hopes the autopsy will dispel that notion.

''A lot of people still swear it's not Emmett in that grave, so hopefully this will break down the attitude that we're wasting our time,'' he said.

Wright and two other relatives attended a graveside prayer service before investigators dug up the casket using a backhoe and shovels. The body is to be returned to the grave within a week, FBI officials said.

Till's slaying helped galvanize the civil rights movement. His mother, who died in 2003, insisted her son's body be displayed in an open casket at his funeral, forcing the nation to see the brutality directed at blacks in the South at the time.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Wednesday questioned why it took the federal government so long to reopen the Till case. He said 100,000 people saw Till's body in the casket. ''The open viewing was a civil rights demonstration. It showed the horrors of bigotry.''

The Justice Department announced plans last year to reopen the Till investigation, saying it was triggered by several pieces of information, including a documentary by New York filmmaker Keith Beauchamp.

Associated Press Writer Don Babwin contributed to this report.

AP-NY-06-01-05 20:04 EDT