People who may have been involved in unsolved murder cases during the civil rights era can no longer rest comfortably. The U.S. Senate, by unanimous consent, passed the Till bill Wednesday morning. Passage of the bill will establish a cold cases unit with the Justice Department, empowering it to pursue unpunished crimes of the civil rights era that occurred from time of Emmett Till’s murder in 1955 up through an unspecified date in the future.

“This is great news,” said filmmaker Keith Beauchamp, “and I’m sure a lot of folks whose relatives and friends were victims during this period are pleased to hear this. It will also help a lot of researchers, writers and filmmakers who have been diligently seeking justice and closure on these cases.” Beauchamp recently completed four hour-long documentaries about cold cases, and the passage of the bill should help promote the series, which will be aired on TV One each evening from October 5-8. Check your local cable listings for the time. A few weeks ago, the bill passed in the House version, which the House previously passed 422-2. It was reported that the bill would allocate $10 million toward solving the cold cases. The bill now goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign it. The Bush administration and Justice Department both have supported the legislation. The bill is named after Till, an African-American teenager from Chicago who was beaten and killed August 28, 1955, after he wolf-whistled at a white woman in Money, Mississippi. An all-white jury in Tallahatchie County acquitted Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, who later, for $4,000,confessed their involvement to writer William Bradford Huie of Look magazine.