According To New Book Emmett Till's Father Was Also Hanged
A new book will shed light on the untold story of Emmett Till‘s father, Louis Till.
Titled Writing To Save A Life: The Louis Till File, the book finds writer John Edgar Wideman trying to uncover the story of Louis, who was charged with rape and murder while stationed in Italy during World War II, and then court-martialed and hanged by the US military.
The army was still segregated at the time and Louis and another African American private, Fred McMurray, were found guilty by an army court-martial of raping two Italian women and murdering one during an air raid in 1944.
In the process of learning this story Wideman learned the ways in which it played in the aftermath of Emmett’s death. After Emmett’s murderers were acquitted a grand jury was convened to consider kidnapping charges against the men, because of the controversy surrounding the incident.
When this occurred portions of Till’s military file were abruptly declassified and leaked to the local press. The victim’s family failed to receive justice, with the kidnapping charges never going through.
“It bothers me. Somebody needed to speak up. Somebody needed to contradict what the army officers were saying or what the other allegedly guilty parties were saying,” Wideman stated in regards to Louis’ silence in an interview with NPR. “But also I recognize his silence. I recognize the silence of someone who knows better than to waste his breath or her breath addressing power.”
He continued: “…You speak very little to the master…because anything you say will be held against you, and can be held against you. And so it was dangerous to speak and therefore that silence was part of the heritage, that was part of the legacy.”
Writing To Save A Life: The Louis Till File drops tomorrow (Tuesday, November 15, 2016).