Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush Gives Special Congressional Recognition To Witnesses Of The 1955 Murder Of Emmett Till Awards Ceremony Part Of Year-long Efforts By Rep. Rush In Honor Of The 50th Anniversary Of Till's Death, As He Waits For Response ...

Jan 14, 2005
Press Release

Chicago, IL. ---- Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) announced today that he give special congressional recognition to the individuals, who witnessed various accounts of the 1955 murder of 14-year-old murder of Emmett Till.  This recognition is part of Congressman Rush's continued efforts to seek justice in the sham, murder trial of Till, where the accused were acquitted of the crime by an all-white jury. 

"While I continue to pursue federal justice for all perpetrators involved in Emmett Till's murder trial 50 years ago, extending an earnest gesture of gratitude to the other young men who were impacted by this heinous crime is also long overdue," said Rep. Rush.  "Although Emmett Till paid the unfortunate price with his life, the survivors exhibited great bravery while enduring the hardships of racism and death threats."  

Rep. Rush introduced a resolution last February calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reopen Emmett Till's murder case.  A  bipartisan, bicameral resolution for the DOJ and the state of Mississippi to act more quickly to hold those accountable was introduced last November. The resolution directs the DOJ to pursue this investigation in a timely manner due to the amount of time that has passed since the crime was committed and the age of the witnesses.  A copy of the resolution is attached.  

            The awards ceremony is in conjunction with the Chicago premiere screening of the critically acclaimed documentary, "The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, " by filmmaker, Keith Beauchamp at the Gene Siskel Film Center.  The screening begins at 7:45 p.m (CST). The ceremony takes place at 9:00 p.m followed by an audience discussion with the witnesses and the director. The witnesses and their roles are: 

  • John and Roosevelt Crawford - Both were present at the store the day of the "wolf whistle." John helped identify Till's body. 
  • Rev. Wheeler Parker - the cousin who traveled to Mississippi with Till. He was also present during the "wolf whistle" and the night of the abduction.
  • Simeon Wright - the cousin who was present during the "wolf whistle" and in bed with Emmett the night of the abduction.
  • Willie Reed - the surprise witness for the prosecution, who heard Till's tortured screams.