DNA evidence confirmed buried body as Emmett Till

On August 26, 2005, DNA evidence confirmed that the remains buried in a Chicago grave were in fact those of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American boy who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white woman. The two men charged with Till's murder were acquitted by an all-white jury, though they later admitted to murdering him in a magazine interview. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) exhumed his body in an attempt to find evidence that may have led to additional charges in the long-closed murder investigation, though the Mississippi grand jury failed to indict others possibly connected to the murder. The Emmett Till case is considered one of the catalysts for the Civil Rights Movement and later led to the passage of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which established an Unsolved Crimes Section within the civil rights divisions of the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Learn more about the legal issues surrounding the murder of Emmett Till from the JURIST news archive.

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