California Eagle, January - February 1956
Shortly after the “confession” article by William Bradford Huie appeared in the January 24, 1956 edition of Look magazine, a series of articles began to appear in the Black newspaper, the California Eagle. Although this series claims to unfold the truth about the Emmett Till murder while differing drastically from Huie, the articles received very little attention. I found that after scanning several of the newspapers that had prominently featured the Till case and also commented on Huie’s article, none mentioned the Eagle articles.
The California Eagle installments were written by a journalist under the pseudonym Amos Dixon. An introductory note in the first installment claimed that Dixon had not only covered the trial, but he had “talked freely to those who knew what happened.” Unlike Huie, who had Milam and Bryant as his sources, Dixon maintained that there were accomplices to the murder and names them. His account matches more closely the testimonies of witnesses Willie Reed and Mandy Bradley, although at the same time, there are some obvious errors of fact.
Mississippi doctor and civil rights leader T. R. M. Howard was clearly behind the publication of these articles. Historians David Beito and Linda Royster Beito, in their biography of Howard called Black Maverick, provide evidence for this in that Howard and Eagle publisher Loren Miller had been friends for over two decades. According to the Beitos, Howard did aid the publishing of another investigative piece, Time Bomb (also included on this website) which reached similar conclusions to Dixon, and which appeared around the same time the Eagle articles were published.
Dixon maintains that others, including two other Milam brothers and three other black men were involved in the murder of Emmett Till. These names had already been familiar to Howard and had surfaced in the investigative articles by black reporter James Hicks (see the link to Hick’s investigations on this site also). Despite some obvious shortcomings, these articles have deserved greater attention and are an important source that maintained early on that others were involved in the murder of Emmett Till.