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Continued: Willie Louis, key witness to Emmett Till lynching who told of boy's screams, dies in Illinois

  • Article by: JASON KEYSER , Associated Press
  • Last update: July 24, 2013 - 2:10 PM

"He used to have real nightmares and things," Juliet Louis said. "All his life it bothered him. When he would talk about it, sometimes tears would be in his eyes."

Till's relatives, historians and documentary makers, meanwhile, had been searching for Willie Reed, wondering what had become of him.

A New York filmmaker eventually tracked him to his home in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, and later introduced him to Till's mother, Mamie Till Mobley.

"She just cried when they took him over there," Juliet Louis recalled. "They always kept in touch after that."

Till's mother died in 2003.

Gradually, Willie Louis began telling his story. On "60 Minutes," he said Emmett's screams haunted him.

"I heard this screaming, beating, screaming and beating," he said. "And I said to myself, I said, 'You know, man, they're beating somebody in the barn.'"

Besides his wife, Louis is survived by a stepson, seven grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

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