(CNN)In 1955, Emmett Till, a Black boy who was just 14 and a mere five foot four inches tall, was kidnapped and brutally tortured by White men — all for allegedly whistling at a White woman. Yet, more than six decades later, lynching is still not a federal hate crime.
Earlier this month, the Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi announced that they closed their investigation into Till’s murder. Federal and local prosecutors made the decision to close the case — which had been re-examined once before — after investigators were unable to corroborate a claim made by a Duke professor that the former wife of one of Emmett’s killers had recanted her prior account of the events leading to the murder.
We are dissatisfied with the lack of accountability for Emmett and his family. Yet, we remain undeterred in our quest to move forward. We know that to heal the past and bring justice in the present, we must address our country’s history of racist violence.
To that end, the Mamie Till Mobley Foundation and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law continue to push for passage of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act. This vital legislation would, finally, declare lynching a federal hate crime, bringing the full force of the law to bear in vindicating the rights of Black people who continue to be the most common victims of such violence.