On The Anniversary Of Emmett Till's Murder, His Cousin Continues The Search For Justice

Aug 28, 2019



It's been 64 years since 14-year-old Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi.


Till was kidnapped by a gang of white men and killed after he whistled at a white woman in a grocery store.


The two men behind the crime were eventually acquitted by an all-white jury.


But the pictures of Emmett Till’s body during his open-casket funeral sparked outrage across the country and fueled the civil rights movement in the 1960s.


Deborah Watts was just a toddler when her cousin Emmett was murdered.  

Today, she is the director and president of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, a group seeking justice for Emmett over 60 years later.


Earlier this year, Watts sat down with GPB's Leah Fleming to discuss her family's story and the powerful memory of Emmett's mother that still inspires her today.


Deborah Watts, director and president of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation.
Credit GPB

The Justice Department has reopened an inquiry into the decades-old case of Emmett’s death, which is still under investigation. 

In 2016, Congress passed the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act, which added amendments to an earlier bill introduced by Atlanta Congressman John Lewis.