Disappointment for Emmett Till
We've mentioned Emmett Till before, and it's been interesting to see the case become subject of reexamination over the past couple of years. So it's got to be disappointing that the grand jury investigating the situation has decided not to pursue charges against anyone. The crime is more than fifty years old at this point, but there was still some hope that Carolyn Bryant, the woman at whom Till is alleged to have whistled, would face some sort of justice.
As a quick refresher, Till was a 14-year-old boy visiting Mississippi from Chicago in the summer of 1955. He and his cousins went into a grocery store, and the woman behind the counter, Carolyn Bryant, claimed he whistled at her. A few nights later, he was kidnapped from his uncle's home and was beaten and murdered--his bloated body was found in the river a few days later. The woman's husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J. W. Milam, were later arrested and tried in front of an all-white jury. With barely any deliberation at all, the jury found them not guilty. Once saved from the threat of double jeopardy, they confessed to Look magazine. And not even the "if I'd done it" kind of confession.
Both of the suspects are now dead, but Carolyn Bryant, remarried as Carolyn Bryant Donham, survives at age seventy-two. Witnesses claimed to have heard a woman's voice during the kidnapping, so prosecutors thought that, even after all this time, they could make a case. Apparently not. Emmett's cousin, Simeon Wright, sums up the frustration:
"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."
He added: "I don't know how many years I have left on this Earth. We can leave this world and say, 'Hey, we tried. We tried to get some justice in this, and we failed.'"
At this point, it appears that no one will pay for the Emmett Till murder. We'll just have to trust that he can rest in peace anyway.