New evidence has prompted the government to reopen the case.
In 1955, Carolyn Donham claimed that Emmett Till whistled, and made sexual advances towards her. Donham's testimony was so riveting that her husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam kidnapped Till, tortured and mutilated him, then shot him in the head and threw the body in the Tallahatchie River. Till's disfigured body was found tied to a weight in the river. His mother, Mamie Till, left her son's casket open for the funeral, to show people how insane racism had gotten in the south. The entire tragedy became a focal point in the Civil Rights movement, and is still a cautionary tale of America's history today.
According to the Associated Press, the federal government has reopened the investigation into Till's murder. Bryant and Milam were charged with the murder, but an all-white jury decided the men were innocent. They both admitted to the murder in an interview with Look, but were never retried. "When a n***er gets close to mentioning sex with a white woman, he's tired o' livin'," stated Milam in the interview. "I'm likely to kill him. Me and my folks fought for this country, and we got some rights. I stood there in that shed and listened to that n****r throw that poison at me, and I just made up my mind. 'Chicago boy,' I said, 'I'm tired of 'em sending your kind down here to stir up trouble. Goddam you, I'm going to make an example of you -- just so everybody can know how me and my folks stand.'" Both men are dead now.
In a book that was published last year called The Blood of Emmett Till, Carolyn Donham admitted that she lied about Till making sexual advances on her. Donham will be 84 years old this month and lives in North Carolina. Although it has not been confirmed by the Justice Department, her confession is most likely the new evidence that was cited when the case was reopened.