Back in November of last year I wrote about the murder of Emmett Till. At that time there was some hope that Justice might finally be served as the Justice Department had reopened the case.
The FBI took on the case in 2004 but handed it over to the local prosecutor in 2006, telling the prosecutor to look into Carolyn Bryant Donham, wife of one of the original defendants who admitted to the crime after he had been exonerated by the courts. It was Carolyn that Emmett had whistled at, leading to his torture and murder.
Then today we get this disheartening news. The Grand Jury in her manslaughter case has issued a "no bill", claiming they found insufficient evidence to issue an indictment.
Emmett's cousin, 64 year old Simeon Wright who heard Emmett whistle, said disappointedly:
"You're looking at Mississippi. I guess it's about the same way it was 50 years ago. We had overwhelming evidence, and they came back with the same decision. Some of the people haven't changed from 50 years ago. Same attitude. The evidence speaks for itself."History professor David Beito of the University of Alabama who has researched the case extensively points out the one good thing which came of Emmett's demise:
"It gave a jump-start to the civil rights movement. "It did not create the civil rights movement, but it made it more into a mass movement. It really mobilized people.''He also feels that there is now no one left to prosecute for the crime.
Simeon Wright sums it up this way:
"J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant died with Emmett Till's blood on their hands. And it looks like everyone else who was involved is going to do the same. They had a chance to come clean. They will die with Emmett Till's blood on their hands."Over 50 years later and it seems little has changed in the South!