14 Year Old Became Symbol Of Racial Tension In America
By A.F. James MacArthur Ph.A.L.
Authorities say Emmett Till's original casket discovered in dilapidated garage on cemetery grounds.
Four former cemetery employees are charged with the disturbing crime. Three gravediggers and a manager, made about $300,000 in the macabre scheme that stretched back at least four years.
The suspects, who were being held on bond, were former cemetery manager Carolyn Towns, 49, Keith Nicks, 45, and Terrence Nicks, 39 — all of Chicago — and Maurice Dailey, 61, of Robbins. Each was charged with one count of dismembering a human body, a felony.
According to authorities, they sold existing deeds and plots to unsuspecting members of the public for cash. They then allegedly dug up hundreds of corpses and either dumped some in a weeded, vacant area near the cemetery or double-stacked others in graves.
Emmett Till, 14, was brutally killed in August 1955 in Mississippi after he reportedly whistled at a white woman. Despite the gruesome condition of his corpse, his mother insisted on a public funeral and open casket in an effort to draw attention to the ferocity of her son's killing.
Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson attended
the funeral. Jackson said; "his mother had the gut and grit to say that, 'I want America to see what they did to my baby's body,' " Jackson said.
"More than 100,000 saw his body lying at the church. It is said that those who saw his body were never the same again.
More than 2,000 families went to Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois, after authorities uncovered what they say was a scheme to excavate the graves, dump the remains, resell the plots and pocket the cash.
The Associated Press has a full report.