CHICAGO (CBS) — Sixty-three years after the racist murder of Chicago teenager Emmett Till, the U.S. Justice Department is renewing its investigation into the crime, which galvanized the civil rights movement.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports Till’s family welcomes the news.

Emmett Till’s cousin and co-founder of the foundation that carries his name calls it an opportunity.

“For us to do it right. For the U.S. Justice Department to do the right thing,” said Deborah Watts.

The daughter of the pastor who led Till’s funeral in Chicago in 1955 said the boy’s mother Mamie would be overjoyed today.

“She would be ecstatic,” said Sharon Roberts. “I could see her smiling now.”

The U.S. Justice Department is taking another look into a catalyst of the civil movement.

Emmett Till, a black 14-year-old Chicagoan visiting family in Mississippi, was abducted and murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman.

The ruins of Bryant’s Grocery Store in Money, Mississippi. It’s where Chicago teen Emmett Till was accused of whistling at a white woman in 1955. His mutilated body was found days later in the Tallahatchie River (Credit: Yolanda Perdomo/CBS)

His mother insisted his casket be open so the world could see her horribly disfigured son.

Two white men, one the husband of the woman, were acquitted by an all white Mississippi jury.

They then confessed to murdering Till.

“Not a day has passed that Emmett isn’t on my mind, not one day,” said Mamie Till in 1999.

The federal agency said it has new information about the case, but hasn’t disclosed what the information is.

The men who said they killed Till are dead.

63 years after Emmett Till’s murder, 15 years after his mother’s death, the fight goes on.

“She died with this mission to seek justice for her son,” said Watts.

The Mississippi woman at the center of the case told a researcher in 2008 that Emmett Till never touched her nor said anything vulgar and in her words, “nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.”


Emmett Till gravesite at Burr Oak Cemetery. (Credit: Yolanda Perdomo/CBS)