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Duke Researcher's Book Prompts Reopening Of Emmett Till Murder Case

By Image Editor (14EmmettTillBefore) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The federal government has reopened an investigation into the 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till based on information published in a Duke professor’s book.

While researching his 2017 book, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” Timothy Tyson interviewed Carolyn Bryant, the white woman who said Till sexually assaulted her while she was working at a grocery store in Mississippi.

Her story led to the black teen’s lynching, and influenced jurors to acquit the murderers. She later admitted to Tyson her testimony was not true.

“And she also said, in her words, 'nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,'" Tyson said.


The U.S. Department of Justice cites the “discovery of new information” as the reason for reopening the case.


Till’s murder helped spark the Civil Rights movement of the mid-twentieth-century.


James Morrison is a national award-winning broadcast reporter with more than seven years experience working in radio and podcasts. His work has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now and multiple other radio outlets and podcasts. His reporting focuses on environmental and health issues, with a focus on the opioid epidemic and sustainable food systems. He was recognized with a national award for a story he reported for NPR on locally-sourced oyster farming. He also received a national award for his daily news coverage of firefighters killed in the line of duty. A podcast he produced about the fall of Saigon during the Vietnam War was accepted into the Hearsay International Audio Arts Festival.
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