This just came down

(AP) All but closing the books on a crime that helped give rise to the civil rights movement, a grand jury has refused to bring any new charges in the 1955 slaying of Emmett Till, a black teenager who was beaten and shot after whistling at a white woman in the Mississippi Delta.

The district attorney in rural Leflore County had sought a manslaughter charge against the white woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, who was suspected of pointing out Till to her husband to punish the boy for what was a grave offense in the segregated South.

But the grand jury last Friday issued a “no bill,” meaning it found insufficient evidence, according to documents made public Tuesday.

I don’t know if this happens with kids today, probably not, but when I was coming up in the 80s, you couldn’t be a black boy and have avoided the tale of Emmett Till. It was a rite of passage to be told about the brutalization of someone your age a few decades earlier for the crime of being black.

This legal effort was the last best attempt to being someone to justice. The men who committed the crime had been acquitted and later admitted to the murder.

I love the stubbornness of one of the players in the situation. From the article:

Horace Harned, 86, a former Mississippi legislator and member of the Sovereignty Commission, a state agency that worked clandestinely to preserve segregation, said he was glad to see no charges filed. He said the suggestions that Donham had a role in the crime are “a bunch of foolishness.”

“Of course, I don’t believe in murder. That’s the wrong thing. It always backfires on you. That shouldn’t have happened,” he said. But he added: “You can’t correct all the ills of the past. If we did, the Southerners were treated much worse than anybody back in the Civil War.”

Yes, murder should not be committed because it always “backfires” not because it’s wrong, and Southerners were of course treated much worse than anybody in the Civil War. I suppose if you don’t consider blacks to be people, that’s a very easy statement to make.

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