Emmett Till’s family members said they were “not surprised” but still heartbroken after the Justice Department officially closed the investigation it had reopened into Till’s brutal 1955 lynching and whether a white woman had recanted the claims that led to the Black 14-year-old’s murder.

“I’m not surprised but my heart is broken,” Till’s cousin Thelma Wright Edwards said at a press conferenceMonday in Evanston Illinois. “I had hope that we could get an apology, but that didn’t happen. There was no settlement. The case is closed and we have to go on from here.”

On Monday, the Justice Department met with members of Till’s family to tell them that the agency had closed the investigationIt reopened in 2018 into the teen’s murder.

1955 saw the first white man. lynchedAfter Carolyn Bryant Donham said Till, 14 years old, had harassed and abused her at a Mississippi grocery shop in Mississippi, Till was released. Bryant Donham’s husband and his half-brotherKidnapped and brutally tortured the teenager, he was killed and his remains were thrown in the Tallahatchie River. The men were acquitted by an all-white jury. Till’s killing and the photos of his brutalized body from his funeral fueled the civil rights movement.

The DOJ reopened the investigation into Till’s death after a 2017 book quoted Bryant Donham, who is still living, admitting that she had lied about what happened.

DOJ FBIExamined whether Bryant Donham was a convicted felon. recanted, as the book claimedThis could have resulted in new charges against her, as well as other allegations.

But after years of inquiry, officials concluded that “there is insufficient evidence” that Bryant Donham had, in fact, recanted her story, according to a press release from the DOJ.

“When asked about the alleged recantation, [Bryant Donham] denied to the FBI that she ever recanted her testimony,” the release said, adding that there is “insufficient evidence to prove that she ever told [the book’s author] that any part of her testimony was untrue.”

Officials noted that there also “remains considerable doubt as to the credibility of her version of events,” adding that Bryant Donham’s story is “contradicted by others who were with Till at the time.”

Rev. Emmett Till’s cousin Wheeler Parker Jr. speaks during a conference about the Justice Department’s closing of its investigation into the 1955 Lynching.
Northwestern

“This family has waited 66 years to learn who would answer for Emmett. Now we know the truth: no one. And that’s a tragedy on top of a tragedy,” said Christopher Benson, an associate professor of journalism at Northwestern University who met with the DOJ, FBI and other officials with Till’s family on Monday.

Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., Till’s cousin and best friend, who was in the house when the men kidnapped Till in the middle of the night, said that “today is a day we’ll never forget,” speaking of officials closing the investigation.

“For 66 years we have suffered pain, loss,” Parker said, noting he was only 16 years old when his cousin was kidnapped and killed.

“You did not die in vain,” he said of Till. “We can’t bring him back, but we can carry on and let America know we need to know the truth.”

Till’s cousin Ollie Gordon echoed other family members that the government’s findings “came as no surprise.”

“I did not expect they would find new evidence… or be able to validate Carolyn Bryant recanting her story,” Gordon said, urging people to “look to the future.” “Where do we go from here? Even though we don’t feel we got justice, we still must move forward. Let’s figure out how we can continue to make change.”

Source: HuffPost.com.

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