Emmett Till Cold Case Investigations Program


The Emmett Till Program provides support to state, local and tribal law enforcement and prosecutors in their investigation and prosecution of cold case murders associated with civil rights violations. Funds are limited to address violations of civil rights statutes resulting in death that occurred no later than December 31, 1979. The Objectives of the program are to: - Enhance collaboration between federal state and local law-enforcement and prosecution agencies in their investigation and prosecution of unsolved civil rights cold case murders. -Increase the number of State, Local and Tribal investigations and prosecutions of civil rights cold case murders. -Bring justice and support to families and stakeholders impacted by these murders. Performance Measure 1: Since the beginning of the grant, please describe how collaboration has aided in the development of processes or policies that will aid in future Civil Rights Cold Case investigations; Performance Measure 2: Number of victims family members agreeing to participate in the investigation; and, Performance Measure 3: Number of cases resulting in an arrest.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2020 The program was first funded in FY2020, in which BJA made one award. BJA issued a solicitation in FY2021 which seeks to fund additional awards and also so support national training and technical assistance.
Fiscal Year 2021 BJA made $1.5 million in site-based awards under the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016 to help solve cold case civil rights murders that occurred before Dec. 31, 1979. Till, an African-American teenager, was visiting his family in Money, Mississippi, during the summer of 1955 when he was abducted, beaten and killed. Two local men were prosecuted for the crime but were acquitted by an all-white jury, though they later confessed to the killing. Till’s case helped galvanize the nascent civil rights movement. BJA awarded an additional $1.8 million to offer training and technical assistance to other communities seeking to resolve these cases, including making microgrants to the field.
Fiscal Year 2022 Given the impact Emmett Till's lynching had on America, in 2022, President Biden signed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act into law after more than 200 attempts to make lynching a federal hate crime. In 2016, the program was authorized as part of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act. Upon receiving funding in 2020, BJA launched the Emmett Till Cold Case Investigations and Prosecution Program. Please see https://bja.ojp.gov/program/emmett-till-cold-case-investigations-and-prosecution-program/news
Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Re-authorization Act of 2016
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Public Law 116-260, Statute 134,1182, 1258
Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2023, Public Law 117-328
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Not applicable.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Victims of cold case homicide investigations where there is also a civil rights violation, their families and other stakeholders.
Not applicable.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. See the current fiscal year's solicitation available at the Office of Justice Programs web site at (http://www.ojp.gov/funding/solicitations.htm and http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/PreawardRequirements/index.htm for additional information.
Award Procedure
Upon approval by the Office of Justice Programs Assistant Attorney General, successful applicants are notified via DOJ's Justice Grants System (JustGrants). The grant award must be accepted electronically by the receiving organizations authorized official in JustGrants. For further information, please see http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/PreawardRequirements/chapter2.2a.htm.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 90 to 120 days.
Not applicable.
In some cases, award periods may be extended if specific criteria are met. For details, please review the discussion of no-cost extensions in the Criteria for Award Extension section of the Department of Justice Grants Financial Guide available at http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/PostawardRequirements/chapter3.2d.htm.
How are proposals selected?
See the current fiscal years' program solicitation available at the Office of Justice Programs web site at http://ojp.gov/funding/Explore/CurrentFundingOpportunities.htm.
How may assistance be used?
This funding will support the efforts of state, local and tribal agencies in the investigation and prosecution of these cases, as well as working with victim families and local stakeholders to support those impacted by the investigation of these cases. This includes review of evidence and use of modern DNA and forensic tools to aid investigations. State, local and tribal agencies have been and are encouraged to working with their federal partners to pursue these cases and coordinate work, consistent with other activities under the Emmitt Till Act.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: To assist in fulfilling the Departments responsibilities under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), Public Law 103-62, and the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, Public Law 111–352, recipients must provide data that measures the results of their work.
Not applicable.
In accordance with the requirement set forth in 2 CFR 200, Subpart F, grantees must maintain all financial records, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other records pertinent to the award for at least 3 years following the close of the most recent audit. For additional guidance, please visit http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/PostawardRequirements/chapter3.16a.htm.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Award periods for Office of Justice programs generally range from 12 to 36 months. For specifics pertaining to this program, please see the current fiscal year’s program solicitation available at the Office of Justice Programs web site (http://ojp.gov/funding/Explore/CurrentFundingOpportunities.htm). For additional information, see the Department of Justice Grants Financial Guide section on “Period of Availability of Funds" at http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/PostawardRequirements/chapter3.2a.htm. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: Lump.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Elizabeth Griffith
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Bureau of Justice Assistance
810 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20531 USA
Phone: (202) 616-2008
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Project Grants (Contracts)) FY 22$5,498,752.00; FY 23 est $3,500,000.00; FY 24 est $3,000,000.00; FY 21$3,314,460.00; FY 20$299,988.00; FY 19$0.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Maximum dollar amount for each award: $500,000 Average Award amount: $500,000
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
See the current fiscal years' program solicitation available at the Office of Justice Programs web site (http://ojp.gov/funding/Explore/CurrentFundingOpportunities.htm. For additional guidance, please reference the Department of Justice Grants Financial Guide (http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/index.htm) and Post award Instructions (http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/PostawardRequirements/index.htm). Applicable administrative requirements and Department of Justice regulations applicable to specific types of grantees can be found in title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (2 C.F.R.).
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2020 BJA funded the Maryland Office of the Attorney General to support the investigation and resolution of a number of lynchings that occurred in Maryland, working with the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission and local historians. Maryland is working with family members and stakeholders impacted by these crimes.


Federal Grants Resources