Text: S.Con.Res.150 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (11/19/2004)

[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. Con. Res. 150 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

  2d Session
S. CON. RES. 150

 Expressing the sense of Congress with respect to the murder of Emmett 



                           November 19, 2004

   Mr. Schumer (for himself and Mr. Talent) submitted the following 
   concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the 


                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

 Expressing the sense of Congress with respect to the murder of Emmett 

Whereas Emmett Till was born in Chicago, Illinois, at Cook County Hospital, on 
        July 25, 1941, to Mamie and Louis Till;
Whereas Emmett Till traveled to Money, Mississippi, to spend the summer with his 
        uncle, Moses Wright, and his relatives;
Whereas in August 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till--with adolescent flamboyance, 
        but unfamiliarity of the racial customs of the South--allegedly whistled 
        at Carolyn Bryant, a White woman;
Whereas on August 28, at about 2:30 a.m., Roy Bryant, Carolyn Bryant's husband, 
        and his half brother, J.W. Milam, kidnaped Emmett Till from his uncle 
        Moses Wright's home;
Whereas Bryant and Milam brutally beat Emmett Till, took him to the edge of the 
        Tallahatchie River, shot him in the head, fastened a large metal fan 
        used for ginning cotton to his neck with barbed wire, and pushed the 
        body into the river;
Whereas 3 days later, Emmett Till's decomposed corpse was pulled from the 
        Tallahatchie River;
Whereas Emmett's mother, Mamie Till, made the extraordinary decision to leave 
        the casket open at her son's funeral in Chicago, in order to allow the 
        world to see the brutality of the crime perpetrated against her son;
Whereas tens of thousands of people viewed Emmett Till's body in a Chicago 
        church for 4 days; and press from around the world published photographs 
        of Emmett's maimed face; and the sheer brutality of his murder became 
        international news that highlighted the violent racism of the Jim Crow 
Whereas Jet Magazine and the Chicago Defender published photographs of Emmett 
        Till's body outraging African-Americans around the United States;
Whereas the trial of J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant began in September of that year 
        with an all-male, all-White jury, because African-Americans and women 
        were banned from serving;
Whereas the trial of Milam and Bryant was a microcosm of the Jim Crow South: 
        African-Americans were packed in a specific section of the courtroom 
        balcony; the defendants' families were seen laughing and joking with the 
        prosecution and the jury; and food and snacks were passed out to White 
Whereas Moses Wright did the unthinkable as an African-American and openly 
        accused the White defendants in public court of murdering his nephew;
Whereas Moses Wright was run out of town for his actions in court;
Whereas J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant were acquitted of the murder of Emmett Till, 
        and Bryant celebrated his acquittal with his wife in front of the 
Whereas protected from further prosecution, Milam and Bryant candidly confessed 
        their torture and murder of Emmett Till; Milam did so on the record to 
        Look Magazine for $4,000;
Whereas Mamie Till and thousands of others pleaded with the Department of 
        Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reopen and 
        investigate the case;
Whereas the Federal Government did absolutely nothing, and President Eisenhower 
        and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover refused to reopen the case and did not 
        even answer Mamie Till's urgent telegraph;
Whereas 100 days later, Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a White 
        patron and the modern civil rights revolution began;
Whereas many historians regard the murder of Emmett Till as the true spark of 
        the civil rights movement;
Whereas Mamie Till, who died on January 6, 2003, moved back to Chicago, taught, 
        and continued to talk about her son Emmett's murder; and expressed her 
        wishes for a full Federal investigation;
Whereas more than 48 years have passed since the murder of Emmett Till;
Whereas the remaining witnesses to this gruesome crime are elderly;
Whereas House Concurrent Resolution 360 entitled ``Expressing the sense of 
        Congress with respect to the murder of Emmett Till'', was introduced on 
        February 10, 2004, by Representative Bobby Rush;
Whereas the Department of Justice reopened the investigation into the murder of 
        Emmett Till on May 11, 2004; and
Whereas Congress supports the decision to reopen the investigation of the murder 
        of Emmett Till: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), 
That Congress--
            (1) calls on all authorities with jurisdiction, including 
        the Department of Justice and the State of Mississippi, to--
                    (A) expeditiously bring those responsible for the 
                murder of Emmett Till to justice, due to the amount of 
                time that has passed since the murder and the age of 
                the witnesses; and
                    (B) provide all the resources necessary to ensure a 
                timely and thorough investigation; and
            (2) calls on the Department of Justice to fully report the 
        findings of their investigation to Congress.