News & Politics

Author of Emmett Till Book Upset That Trump, Sessions Have Reopened Investigation

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, second from right, and others, participate in a tree planting in honor of Emmett Till, a young African-American killed in 1955, during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. From left are, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post; Janet Langhart Cohen, author of the play "Anne and Emmett;" Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.; Attorney General Eric Holder; Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Collins, and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Emmett Till’s murder was a national disgrace. As a Southerner, I’m truly ashamed that it happened in my part of the country. The Trump administration just announced it is re-opening the investigation into Till’s murder, which is the right thing to do.

The move was likely inspired by a recent book on Till. However, the author of the book, Tim Tyson, is apparently on Team #Resist: Tyson is outraged that an administration he believes is racist would do such a thing.

“I find it deep irony and appalling hypocrisy that Jeff Beauregard Sessions and Donald Trump would pretend to care about African-American children, about a black boy murdered in 1955,” said Tyson, according to the Duke Chronicle.

Note the use of Attorney General Jeff Sessions middle name. “Beauregard” is an old Southern name; Tyson’s inclusion of it, especially since Sessions rarely uses it, seems like an attempt to smear Sessions simply for being Southern himself.

Tyson also told the Chronicle that he felt this move was nothing more than political cover for “policies against immigrant children and voting rights.”

Never mind that Trump has never uttered a word implying that he holds racist views, or that Trump has done in less than two years for minority employment what Democrats failed to deliver for fifty. And never mind that it was Jeff Sessions who singlehandedly destroyed the Alabama Ku Klux Klan — and even pushed for the death penalty for its murderous leader.


Even if an actual racist had reopened the Till case: So what?

While I’d ideally like everyone to be driven by the same motivation I am, that’s not realistic. Some people will be driven by any number of forces to do any number of things. When I want a certain outcome, I rarely care about the motivations of people who are seemingly willing to help me achieve that.

In the case of Emmett Till’s murder, why should Tyson care why the Trump administration re-opened the investigation? Tyson just spent years on a book, likely so he could send the message that we will never forget what happened to this innocent teenager. Wouldn’t the rational response be elation that a small measure of justice might be served for the lynching of a 14-year-old boy?

The media and the Democrats have manipulated people into irrational behavior. And Tyson is apparently engaging in a small act of bigotry himself by smearing Sessions for his name.

The best thing to do here is hope that the historical and legal record soon gets it all right for the sake of history and memory.