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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Emmett Till's cousin reflects on his legacy and racial tensions in Minnesota

Emmett Till was kidnapped and brutally murdered while visiting family in Mississippi from his home in Chicago back in 1955.

WAYZATA, Minn. — More than six decades after the brutal death of her cousin Emmett Till, Deborah Watts gets emotional talking about her family’s fight for justice.

A fight still forging ahead today.

“It’s disappointing that this continues,” says Watts.

As the country mourns the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, killed after being shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center Sunday afternoon.

“My heart sank when I heard about Daunte Wright,” says Watts. “I just think about his mother and what’s she’s feeling right now," she says. "The hopelessness.”

A feeling all too familiar. 

Something Watts says she saw firsthand from Till’s mother after he was kidnapped, and brutally murdered while visiting family in Mississippi from his home in Chicago back in 1955.

“We know that Mamie Till-Mobley, who had an open casket funeral – wanted the world to understand what hate looked like and wanted justice for her son,” says Watts.

Justice, that Watts, says still hasn’t been served. “Carolyn is still alive," she says. "She says never been charged with anything; the other perpetrators are no longer alive,” says Watts.

Watts is now turning her pain into a way to help others with the Emmett Till Legacy Fund, while supporting families like George Floyd’s, to right the wrongs from the past.

To find out more about the Emmett Till Foundation, visit the website here.