Emmett Till was lynched over a lie. Now Black men are spending their lives in prison over lies, too
Leave a Comment
I was pained to learn that the Justice Department’s reinvestigation of Emmett Till’s 1955 lynchingwould not result in perjury charges against the woman whose accusations led to his murder. But it hurts even more to know that 66 years later, America continues to symbolically lynch Black men with the noose of wrongful convictions.
In Philadelphia alone, 92% of the 27 people exonerated since 2016 are Black, according to the District Attorney’s Office. A quick cross-reference with the National Registry of Exonerationsshows that they are also male. Though the overrepresentation of Black men among exonerated Philadelphians is extreme, it is part of a well-documented national trend. African Americans represented 47% of those in the exonerations database, according to a 2017 study, even though they make up 13% of the population.
That same study found that Black people convicted of crimes like murder and sexual assault are far more likely than their white counterparts to later be found innocent, especially when it comes to crimes with white victims. So, it stands to reason that if America can falsely convict Black people for crimes against white people even with the supposed safeguards of the criminal justice system, it must have been exceedingly easy for lies to prompt lynchings during the Jim Crow era.
Click here to read the entire column on Inquirer.com
Photo: Prison By. Geoff Living