On his way out of the White House, President Obama is silencing some of those “he didn’t do enough” criticisms. The President’s most recent inscription activated the Emmett Till Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016, granting the Department of Justice and FBI permission to pursue unsolved civil rights crimes committed before 1980. Amidst discussing racial equality in America, we’ve witnessed history’s tendency to repeat itself first hand. What better way to set the record straight than to shed light on the cold cases which provided the foundation of America’s racial structure?
According to Huffington Post, the legislation is an expansion of a previous bill of a similar name signed into law in 2008. Named after Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black boy from Chicago who was beaten and shot by two white men after being taken from his bed in the middle of night (for allegedly whistling at a white woman), the Justice Department is being encouraged to reach out to “activists, advocates and academics working on these issues” in an effort to tie loose ends. Since The Emmett Till Bill was introduced, the FBI has investigated more than 100 cold cases.
The men responsible for the horrendous 1955 killing were set free by an all-white jury and later revealed how they murdered Till in a rather distasteful magazine interview published two months after the trial ended. The jury’s inability to convict the two men sparked a nationwide movement calling for reform with regard to the role racism often plays in the deeply flawed American criminal justice system. Thanks to President Obama, that call has officially been answered 60 years later.