Explain this Emmett Till exhumation to me.


First of all, are there rumors that the body that was buried wasn’t Emmett Till?

What kind of (crackpot) theory accompanies such rumors?

If it’s not him, then what?

If it is him, then what?

Bring additional charges? That body is going to tell them something they don’t already know?

Two men have already basically admitted to the killing and are both dead.

I just don’t see what knowledge whatsoever could be gained by this. It seems like everything that could be said about this case has been said. . .he was brutally beat to death because he was black, and a couple white guys got acquitted.

Anyone. . .what’s going on here?

I don’t know. It’s all so suspicious. I’m curious as well.

The defense team claimed that Emmett Till wasn’t dead at all, and that the NAACP and the “commies” planted a dead body just to make their clients look bad. That was enough for the jury to acquit (they were going to acquit anyway, but that was their hook).

So I could see their exhuming the body—if the killers hadn’t later confessed, and if they weren’t both dead. No one in his right mind believes that’s not Emmett Till in that grave, and I don’t see what “evidence” could be gleaned from an unembalmed 50-year-old skeleton.

Remember that the funeral was open casket.

Mrs.Till wanted the whole world to see what had happened to her child when he was in the Money, Mississippi area.

So, yes…I join with Trunk in questioning this action.

They’re making sure he’s still dead.

I don’t really know. There doesn’t seem to be any concrete reason that I can see. It’s such a terrible stain on the American justice system, though, that perhaps they want to try to finally correctly ID the body to lay the defense’s ludicrous story to rest. I don’t see the point, but maybe I don’t know the whole story.

I believe that the FBI thinks that other people were invovled besides the two who confessed.

I don’t know any of the circumstances that caused the case to be reopened, so I can’t be considered an expert on this. The only reason I can see for exhuming the body is if the FBI believes there were more perpetrators than the two (dead) men who confessed. I can even understand if the family wants to prove once and for all that the defense team was full of shit and scientifically identify the body as Emmett Till’s. (But the article makes it sound as if the family allowed the exhumation, not requested it.)

If it’s the “additional conspirators” angle, then I wholeheartedly agree with the FBI. Get everybody evidentially involved accused publicly, dead or alive, and tried if at all possible.

There is talk of trying Carolyn Bryant, the then 19 year old girl that Till Whistled at and the ex-wife of the long dead Roy Bryant (who along with his half-brother J.W. Milam tortured and murdered Till). According to witnesses at Till’s uncle’s home, she was in the truck when Till was abducted and ID’d the boy to her husband. There is evidently hope of trying her as an accessory. Also possibly to be indicted is a very elderly black man (name eludes me) that some say assisted in the abduction, torture and murder.

I was delighted when Byron de la Beckwith, Bobby Cherry and various lesser known former Klansmen and other murdering sacks of whitetrash shite were brought to justice as old men (it’s almost darkly humorous: they thought they’d gotten away with it only to find their wrinkled old asses in prison), but I think that to pursue this case is a total waste of money that can’t possibly bring any good. If Carolyn Bryant is even indicted by a grand jury it is going to be next to impossible to get a conviction: the crime was 50 years ago, the witnesses are all either dead or old (the youngest is Till’s 63 year old cousin and from there it goes way up- some are in their 90s), at most she was an accessory, she will certainly claim it was against her will (she probably knew that her husband would beat up the kid, but it’s very unlikely she knew he would torture him for days and then murder him), she was a battered wife who lived in fear of her husband (she later divorced him due to abuse and lived in poverty with her kids) so it’s not like she could have stopped him if she had wanted to, there’s next to no chance her lawyer would let a 70 year old scared half-literate woman take the stand and if she did she can’t be forced to incriminate herself.

It sucks- it really sucks- that her ex-husband and brother-in-law not only got away with brutal murder but bragged about it (the year before his death Bryant complained in a radio interview about how of all the books and articles and documentaries made on the case he’d only received money from one (the Look magazine article- he and Milam were paid $3,000 for their confession) but they did. I can’t see any good that will come of prosecuting a 70 year old woman for something she may or may not have done when the odds of a conviction are poor, the trial would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to a state that can’t afford it, the press would once again paint Mississippi and the southeast as an ignorant brutal backwater and act as if nothing’s changed in 50 years, and IF somehow there’s a conviction then it means that a 70 year old woman who is no physical threat to anybody will be put behind bars at taxpayer’s expense and become a darlin’ to the white supremacists of the nation.

Let it go. Emmett’s in that grave. His murderers are in their graves. Remember what happened, never forget, but rejoice that those times are dead as well and concentrate your resources on crimes affecting people here and now, not media orgies.
A Legal Question: I know that it is impermissible to make a husband testify against his wife on the stand. However, could Bryant’s words in the Look article be used against his wife? (Milam’s could, I’m sure, but the fact it’s over 45 years old and could be argued to have been edited without any way of denying it could pretty easily discredit it.)

(It was an article in a popular magazine, not a deposition or a trial testimony, but he can’t be cross-examined [and to further complicate things, they divorced many years before he died {though they were married at the time of the article}].)

In searching about, I found this to be the best story;


I see Doug Bowe’s post, but wonder. Emmett’s mother wanted the whole world to see what had happened to her child; would that be any less an impetus now? To exhume a long dead corpse is sadly horrible, but this case did hinge on the fact that it was not Emmitt Till who was murdered. The exhumation will prove that fact, as well as the facts provided by forensic advancements.

I can’t help but think, too, that the press attention will tell people that racist and violent actions will be dealt with, it’s not condoned, and make that mindset think again.

Here’s an excellent long article on the case from (imo) the best free True Crime site on the Internet.

It’s important to remember in this case that though Milam and Bryant were acquitted, it wasn’t solely due to racism: two jurors later stated they’d received death threats if there was a conviction. Millions of white southerners were disgusted by the crime and, while it was far too little a punishment, both Milam and Bryant were completely shunned- their businesses were almost completely boycotted by whites and blacks, they were forced to move and take menial jobs, etc… I say this not to imply justice was served (it wasn’t- Milam and Bryant should have been drawn and quartered) but that not all southerners were murderous bigots. The case actually even brought a few to their senses on the race matter (too few, but some).