Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Emmett Till Investigation Moves Forward

Prosecutor pores over 8,000-page Till file for evidence

By Jerry Mitchell
The Clarion-Ledger
Jackson, Mississippi

"War and Peace has nothing on the FBI's new investigative file into the 1955 killing of Emmett Till.

"Leo Tolstoy's epic novel of 19th-century Russia surpasses 1,400 pages, but the file that state and federal prosecutors are poring over is more than five times thicker.

"It's probably well over 8,000 pages," said District Attorney Joyce Chiles, who has no time frame for her difficult job of deciding if enough evidence exists to go forward with the Till case."

Story Continued ...

Meanwhile, Emmett Till followers can find dozens of links in Sovereignty Commission files. Here are a few ...

This is a memo to the file regarding Dr. Aaron Henry, an "integration agitator." The entire memo is interesting to read and refers to the Till case. Dr. Henry played an important role in the initial investigation for the NAACP.

Here is a fascinating, hand-written letter by a minister, Rev. Hollis N. Turner of McComb, to the state's lieutenant governor, Carroll Gartin, explaining the importance of the NAACP, including information on the Till case, and telling why the organization is so important. It was a brave letter to write at the time. The letter's recipient turns it over to the Sovereignty Commission head, Ney Gore ...

"Emmett Till Hall" is controlled by a "motley" crew of "bare footed females" and "whiskered" young men ... writes an investigator in this Sovereignty Commission report.

The NAACP's reaction to a Mississippi industry tour press conference. Mississippi has had "no violence" against negroes and negroes "are satisfied" with the school equalization project since Brown, reporters were told.

Was Billy Wilson one of Emmett Till's murderers? This early story about school desegregation in West Point, Mississippi, suggests the possibility.

A black informant gives his report to the Sovereignty Commission ...

State report lists Till's 1955 murder (and others in 1955) in Tallahatchie County. What could have been the reason for this sudden report? Perhaps the federal government was pushing Mississippi after the Till publicity.

This county report lists Till's killers.

There's more on Emmett Till in the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission files -- but not very much, really. The Sovereignty Commission files were thinned out by those officials who knew the files would eventually be made available to the public.

So when is the state of Mississippi going to go to private homes of former commissioners and investigators, and others, whose families still have possession of important evidence in the Till case and in countless others?

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