Emmett Till

Mississippi Trial 1955
Chris Crowe

Civil Rights Post 1955
Jim Crow

Federal Investigation
By Rachael

In the Emmett Till case the investigation that took place was very minor. After the trial the FBI was asked (by Mamie Till) to re-open the case for further investigation to see if there had been any missed evidence. Emmett Till had endured lots of pain and Mamie Till (Emmett’s mother) was going to fight for justice. When Emmett Till was first found in the Tallahatchie River he had been brutally beaten, shot in the head, and tied to a fan blade so his body would be weighed down and in the minds of the murderers he would also be unseen. The body was examined by Moses (the great-uncle of Emmett) and identified as Emmett. Now is this really Emmett? Or does Moses want to blame two white men he accuses for the murder of his nephew?

Investigating the Identity

Emmett Till TrialIt seems as if nobody could identify a body in that condition but by the looks of a ring on his finger, Moses had known that was Emmett. When Emmett’s father died in Italy during World War II his personal items had been given back to the family, which included his silver ring that Mamie gave to Emmett. It was always too big on him because he had only been 14 but it just fit his middle finger so Mamie had allowed him to take it to Mississippi so he could show all of his cousins. Therefore that is the only reason you can be sure it was Emmett. Now will that “evidence” prove that the body found in the Tallahatchie River is the body of Emmett? Or will the judge surpass that important “evidence” as a lie and not believe the story?            


Finding the Witnesses

File:Mose Wright pointing to J W Milam in the murder trial of Emmett Till.jpgDuring the investigation it seems it was very difficult to find witnesses that would actually confess to seeing the murder. I don’t blame them! Most of the people that saw or heard the murder were scared to say they knew anything about the murder at all. See back in Mississippi, most people that saw the murder were black and as a black to testify against a white would be asking to get killed. Even the great-uncle (Moses) had difficulty testifying what he saw. Right after trial he hopped on a train and never came back to Mississippi. So frightened as most people were very few ended up testifying and this made evidence against the two possible murderers (Roy Bryant and his half-brother J. W. Milam) very difficult to find.

The Last of the Investigation

In the end it seems justice hadn’t been served. Moses was accused of lying and Bryant and Milam were found not guilty. There wasn’t much evidence and not enough witnesses. This news spread very fast and people protested that the case needed to be re-opened. But due to the law of double-jeopardy even if they did confess they had committed the crime not much could be done. Do want to know something crazy? Bryant and Milam had confessed that they committed the crime and because of the double-jeopardy nothing was done. The case ended up being re-opened and many hopes were high…but Bryant and Milam were already dead and the case had closed as it once did before. Justice hasn’t been served and Emmett Till still can’t rest in peace. Will anything ever be done to make this a justice-served case? Or will it stay that way as history never changed?

This page was last updated on: Thu, Jan 19, 2012