The United States House has passed a bill named for a 14-year old boy whose murder was one of the mobilizing influences behind the civil rights struggle of the 60s. The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Act calls for the Justice Department to reopen long-cold cases of civil rights crimes committed before 19-70. Congressman Kenny Hulshoff (R-MO), one of the many co-sponsors, says he hopes the bill brings closure to many families still suffering from crimes that happened decades ago.
Hulshoff says there are still many unsolved civil rights crimes from that era. The House has voted 422-2 in favor of the bill. The Senate has passed a similar bill.
Emmett Till was a 14-year old boy from Chicago who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955, reportedly after whistling at a white woman. His mother was so outraged by the brutal nature of his murder that she held an open-casket funeral. His death is considered one of the seminal events of the civil rights movement.
A jury acquitted two men charged with his murder. Not long after, the two told writer William Bradford Huie, in an interview for LOOK magazine, that they had killed Till. Both men have since died without ever expressing any regret for their actions.
(Most of Hulshoff’s floor speech is attached to this story)