Emmett Till's Family Demands Justice After Woman In Case Admits To Lying

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - A rally is being planned to demand the Department of Justice, FBI, and the Mississippi Attorney General reopen the Emmett Till murder case.  This, after the woman at the center of it all, admitted she lied under oath.  Local 24 Anchor Katina Rankin spoke to one of Till's relatives about new developments in this story, which started almost 62 years ago.

But, we want to WARN you, we begin with a photo which shocked the world back in 1955.  You may find it disturbing.

The image which many historians say began the civil rights movement --14-year-old Emmett Till lying in an open casket, his face mutilated.  The teen had traveled from Chicago to Money, Mississippi to visit his uncle.  While there, he went to a store.  The store owner's wife, Carolyn Bryant, claimed Till wolf-whistled at her, made sexual advances and even grabbed her hand.  She told that story to her husband and his half-brother. The men admitted that's why they beat and shot Till and then tied a cotton gin fan around his neck and tossed him into the Tallahatchie River. 

More than six decades later, Carolyn Bryant, now admits she lied.  She made the admission to an author of a new book about Till's murder.  Now, Till's family is calling for a new investigation into his murder.  They also want to see and read the memoir Carolyn Bryant wrote but doesn't plan to release until after her death.

"However we can get that, whatever it takes by any means necessary, we want the truth," said Emmett Till's cousin Wheeler Parker.

Wheeler Parker, Emmett Till's cousin, was 16-years-old and with Till that day at the store in Money, Mississippi.  He was also in the home when Bryant's husband and brother-in-law kidnapped Till in the wee hours of the morning.

"We've had to live with it for all of these years, 60 years," said Wheeler.  "I knew the truth, but people needed to know it." 

Patrick Weems runs the Emmett Till Interpretive Center and agrees, justice should be served.

"It was not the right way to go about it.  If you're going to tell the truth, if you're going to be honest, do not tell a third party.  The Till family is ready, willing to have that conversation.  Many people would not be willing to have that conversation, but they are gracious enough, loving enough to say they are willing to talk to her," said Director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center Patrick Weems.

Katina Rankin asked Weems, "Should Carolyn Bryant be charged as an accessory to murder?"

"Absolutely, she should be charged as accessory to murder, " said Weems. "Will that lead to closure? I'm not sure."

And now, Local 24 has learned, a rally is being organized to demand justice be served in the case.  Activist Duvalier Malone says he and hundreds of others will stand on the steps of the Mississippi State Capitol, February 27th at noon, demanding the Attorney General, the FBI, and the Justice Department, bring justice to the one civil rights murder case in Mississippi where no one has ever served time for the crime.

"We're saying we demand justice -- that we want her to come out of hiding and to apologize for that lie so that we begin the healing process for the Till family, for Mississippians, and for the world.  And, I believe that apology will begin to heal that racial reconciliation gap that we've seen in Mississippi and across the nation," said Community Activist Duvalier Malone.

Weems hopes that rally will not only lead to justice, but an actual conversation.

"While she is still alive, while the Till family is still alive, while cousins who were actually in the same bed - they are in their Mid-70's, it's very possible we might lose them, while we do have the time! People are still alive. I think we should have those conversations now," said Weems.

We reached out to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.  He released this statement, "Under the rules of court, a prosecutor can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation. I am aware of the reports.  I will do all the law allows to make sure justice is done."

Meantime, Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson just last Friday asked the Department of Justice to look into the case after Bryant's admission.  

Local 24 will stay on top of this developing story and let you know what happens next.

 


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