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CHICAGO — Nearly 50 years after 14-year-old Emmett Till’s murder shocked a nation and galvanized the civil rights movement, his body will be exhumed as federal authorities attempt to determine who killed him, the FBI said Wednesday.
Till’s body, buried in a cemetery in the Chicago suburb of Alsip, will be exhumed within the next few weeks so the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office can conduct an autopsy, said Deborah Madden, spokeswoman for the FBI’s office in Jackson, Miss.
The black youth, who was raised in Chicago, was abducted from his uncle’s home in the tiny Mississippi Delta community of Money on Aug. 28, 1955, reportedly for whistling at a white woman at a grocery store. His mutilated body was found in a river three days later.
Two white men charged with the murder — store owner Roy Bryant, the husband of the woman Till purportedly whistled at, and J.W. Milam, Bryant’s half brother — were acquitted by an all-white jury. The two, now deceased, confessed to the killing months later in Look magazine.
Beauchamp claimed to have uncovered new evidence in his documentary “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till.”
R. Alexander Acosta, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, has said the documentary films and new information indicates the two had accomplices who may still be alive.
(Posted on May 4, 2005)