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updated: 7/24/2013 11:41 AM

Witness to Emmett Till lynching dies in Illinois

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  • The lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 galvanized the civil rights movement.

      The lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 galvanized the civil rights movement.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

A witness who went into hiding after testifying at the Emmett Till trial about hearing the lynching victim's screams has died in a Chicago suburb at the age of 76.

After the 1955 trial, Willie Louis fled his native Mississippi for Chicago. He changed his name and told no one of his connection to the case, not even his future wife.

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Juliet Louis only learned of the link when one of her husband's aunts mentioned it to her eight years after their marriage.

She said Wednesday her husband died July 18 at a hospital in Oak Lawn,

The lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 galvanized the civil rights movement.

Louis says her husband knew of the dangers he would face, but testified because "it weighed on his conscience."

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