Emmett Till Co-Conspirator Carolyn Bryant Dodged the Bullet That Hit Nazi-Abettor Irmgard Furchner Squarely Between the Eyes.
A child is slain. On August 28, 1955, Carolyn Bryant’s husband Roy, and Roy’s half brother John Milam, kidnapped 14-year-old Emmett Till. They drove him to a barn, stripped and savaged the child, then beat and mutilated him about his head, back and hips. Passerbyers heard the barbarity and what were surely Emmett’s heart-wrenching cries. Bryant and Milam later shot young Till above his right ear and anchored a 75 pound cotton gin fan around his neck with barbed wire before scuttling him in the Mississippi Tallahatchie.
A face a mother cannot recognize. Despite his remains being found in just days, the baby boy’s face — crushed, swollen, one eye popped from its socket — was completely unrecognizable. His mother had to use the child’s ring to identify him.
America’s Carolyn Bryant escaped punishment. Last year, the Justice Department found that the Till case suffered from insufficient evidence and other defects. The 88-year-old remains free for Till’s homicide.
But, Germany’s Nazi abettor Irmgard Furchner did not. Germany prosecuted and convicted Irmgard Furchner, the 97-year-old “secretary to the SS commander of the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp during World War II.”
So, thank you, Germany. I remain grateful that the aider and abettor to the murder of thousands upon thousands of Jews faced a tribunal. And, I thank Itzehoe province for its fidelity to a basic truth: justice is not reserved for the actively vile living among us in easy reach.
Before you engage me or others, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Catherine Pugh is an Attorney at Law and former Adjunct Professor at the Temple University, Japan. She developed and taught Race and the Law for its undergraduate program, and Evidence, Criminal Law, and Criminal and Civil Procedure for its law program. She has worked for the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section, and was a Public Defender for the State of Maryland. View her Race and Profiling Lecture Series appearance here. The view expressed here are personal. Nothing in this or any Medium writing is a legal recommendation, legal advice, or a legal opinion.
To my sweetest of loves: I am the wall for them; you are the wall for me. And nothing — nothing — has ever gotten past you. You are my everything. #CubanKitchen.
“It takes the wisdom of the elders . . .” Thank you for teaching us, loving us, leading us all: Mary Stovall Davis Budd, Andrea Tucker, Lorenzo Pugh, Dorris Pugh, Jacqueline Wallace, Roger Wallace, Kenneth Davis, Sandra Davis, and Karen Davis.
Keywords: race, racism, culture, and society.