With only a few weeks left in office, President Barack Obama has signed off on a bill titled, “Emmett Till Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016.”
This statute will allow agencies to bring to justice those who committed criminal civil rights violations occurring before 1970, resulting in a death.
The legislation, originally titled “Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes,” was initially introduced by activist Alvin Sykes in 2005.
The updated version signed off by President Obama mid-December will now rid limitations on critical cases that transpired during the Jim Crow Era as well as give funding to groups assisting to solve such cases including Emory University’s Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project and the Cold Case Justice Initiative at Syracuse University.
The bill is named after Emmett Till, a 14 year old African-American teenager who was lynched after allegedly flirting with a White woman in rural Mississippi. The two White men responsible for brutally murdering Till were let off by an all-White jury.
Over the past 27 years, the reopening of civil rights cold cases has resulted in 24 convictions.
And here’s hoping to many more.