We Found Photos of Ole Miss Students Posing With Guns in Front of a Shot-Up Emmett Till Memorial. Now They Face a Possible Civil Rights Investigation.
July 26, 2019
Statement from Deborah Watts, co-founder Emmett Till Legacy Foundation and cousin of Emmett Till
Seeing the images of those young men posing for photos with guns in front of a sign honoring the brutal murder of my cousin Emmett and the movement it sparked is disappointing but not surprising. Those actions represent the current climate in our nation and emanates from the highest levels of our government.
Their callous behavior and the act of vandalism does not compare to the torture that Emmett had to endure before his life was stolen. The sign can be replaced but sadly Emmett’s death is eternal. His lynching has had a lasting emotional impact on our family and the nation must reckon with the violent legacy of the civil rights era as demonstrated by this picture.
While this specific incident is painful for our family, it will not distract us. It does in fact serve as a reminder of the need for us to continue our efforts in pursuit of justice for Emmett as well as other families of victims. In fact, this event further motivates me and the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation to continue Mamie Till’s (Emmett’s mother) fight to push law enforcement to hold anyone involved in his brutal murder accountable. Decades later, we continue to pursue all legal avenues, criminal and civil.
We urge the FBI or DOJ to provide our family with an update on the investigation and to take legal actions against suspects involved in Emmett’s murder while they are still alive. Families of victims of civil rights era killings should be supported by the laws that governing this nation. Where there are loopholes that aid suspects and those accused of, or involved in, race related murders, we believe legislation should be enacted to close them.
Working through the Foundation we are looking to create a path towards justice and accountability for surviving relatives of victims of racially motivated killings. We will be contacting members of Congress to seek their support.
We call on activists, legal professionals and advocates across this nation to support us in our efforts for justice for Emmett Till.