Official: Renewed probe prompted by 2017 book
A renewed investigation into the brutal slaying of Emmett Till was prompted by a 2017 book that revealed lies by a key figure in the 1955 case that helped build momentum for the civil rights movement, a federal official in Birmingham, Ala., said Thursday.
A federal official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that information published in the book led federal investigators to re-examine the case. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.
The reopening of the Till case was revealed in a federal report sent to lawmakers in March that said the Justice Department had received unspecified “new information.”
The book “The Blood of Emmett Till” by Timothy B. Tyson quotes a white woman, Carolyn Donham, as saying during a 2008 interview that she wasn’t truthful when she testified that the black teen grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances at a Mississippi store in 1955.
Tyson told reporters Thursday that he was contacted by the FBI weeks after his book was published in January 2017, and he furnished them interview recordings and other research materials. He doesn’t think his research alone would support new charges but said investigators may be able to link it to other material in their possession.