Tim Tyson, senior research scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies, called the Department of Justice's re-opening its investigation into the famous murder of Emmett Till a "completely hypocritical political show."

In a press conference Thursday at Duke, Tyson—whose book, "The Blood of Emmett Till," won the 2018 Robert F. Kennedy award—said he was not sure what the DOJ is trying to accomplish other than gain political cover for the Trump administration's policies against immigrant children and voting rights.  

“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,” he said.

Tyson said after his book was published in January 2017, he was subpoenaed by the Justice Department and contacted by the FBI for his research. "The Blood of Emmett Till" was notable for publicly revealing for the first time that Carolyn Bryant Donham, the woman who accused the 14-year-old black boy of flirting, admitted to fabricating part of her testimony.

The DOJ then re-opened the case after informing Congress in March that it had new information. But if the information from his book is what spurred the investigation, Tyson said they have had it for a while.

Tyson said he believes nothing in his research is actionable. Donham was already in poor health in 2008 when he interviewed her, Tyson said. Moreover, the statute of limitations would be out on perjury, he noted.

"Nobody thought she was telling the truth to begin with," Tyson said Thursday.

He supports justice for the Till family, but said he does not see any justice to be had. Instead, he wants people to think about why this case has been a "burr on America's brain for 60 years" and consider its profound impact in shaping the Civil Rights Movement. 

Tyson added a whole generation of activists called themselves the Emmett Till Generation and that Rosa Parks herself was thinking about Till while she refused to give up her seat on the bus.

"I fully support the investigation, but I don't think there's anything there," he noted. "I think the whole investigation is politically motivated.”

This article has been updated with additional information from the press conference.