Justice For Emmett Till

Family members of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black teen whose murder in the Jim Crow South spurred the civil rights movement in America, say they have unearthed an unserved arrest warrant for the White woman who accused him of making advances toward her, sparking the events that led to his death nearly 70 years ago.

The warrant was discovered last week by a five-member search group led by members of Till’s family, including Deborah Watts and her daughter Terri. An image of the warrant, provided to CNN by the foundation, charged J.W. Milam, Roy Bryant and Bryant’s then-wife — identified in the document as Mrs. Roy Bryant — with kidnapping and orders their arrests. The warrant is dated August 29, 1955, and signed by the Leflore County Clerk.

The Emmett Till Legacy Foundation shared this image of an unserved arrest warrant, charging the woman who accused him of making advances toward her with kidnapping.

The image of the warrant shows the current Leflore County clerk certified the document as authentic on June 21. Absent action from law enforcement in light of the finding, the family has considered taking initiative to help bring justice in Emmett’s brutal killing.

In 1955 Jim Crow America, 14 year old Emmett Till was visiting his uncle Mose Wright, a sharecropper in Money, Mississippi from Chicago. He was out buying some candy with his friends and playing around like all kids do they dared him to talk to the white woman in the store, Carolyn Bryant DonHam. After buying his candy, it was reported that Till allegedly whistled at her before leaving. A whistle… an honest, harmless, playful whistle of a child resulted in the brutal lynching of Emmett Till. 

Carolyn Bryant Donham told her husband Roy Bryant that Till “had made lewd gestures, grabbed her and whistled”. LIES! LIES THAT COST HIM HIS LIFE! Roy Bryant and his friend J.W. Milam drove to Wright’s house, putting him at gunpoint and demanding Emmett to come with them. Despite pleas from his uncle, the men kidnapped 14 year old Emmett and brutally beat and terrorized him. Smashing his head and putting a bullet through him until his body was unrecognizable. They tied a 75lb cotton gin fan around his neck and threw him in the Tallahatchie river. 

Days later when his body was found, his uncle was only able to recognize him by his initialed gold ring on his finger. During the trial, despite witness testimonial from Till’s uncle Mose Wright, the two men were found not guilty by an all white verdict. During that same trial, Donham also then testified that 14 year old Emmett Till grabbed and threatened her. Years later in a 2007 interview, Carolyn Bryant Donham revealed that Till never touched or threatened her. When asked about her testimony she said “That part’s not true”. 52 years later she decided to tell the truth, well we’re here to say too little too late. She saw the mutilation done to Till by her husband and his friend seeking to avenge her lies and stood by silently knowing they were wrong. She waited until the murders of Emmett were dead to reveal she was lying, but nonetheless perjury is a crime. Bryant’s family made an agreement with writer Timothy Tyson that her manuscripts are not released until she dies. Why? Because they do not want justice to be served!

If history is never learned from it will continue to repeat itself. We need to have justice for Emmet and have his history told. This is the same story that we are repeating now in 2020 as Black people are being murdered and there is no justice, this is nothing new. Now more than ever we must reveal the injustices done in this country towards Black people and seek restitution. Too often Black lives are taken without any consequences given to the perpetrators. We must be the ones to bring change! We must be the ones to bring justice!!

Decision to close Emmett Till's investigation brings no justice to his family

The two men were acquitted of Emmett’s murder soon after by an all-White jury, though they later admitted to the killing in an interview with Lookmagazine. Milam died in 1980 and Bryant died in 1994, but his widow — now Carolyn Bryant Donham — is still alive, and Emmett’s family hopes the warrant will lead to her arrest and, ultimately, justice.

The discovery of the warrant was first reported by the New York Amsterdam News, one of the nation’s oldest African American publications.

According to The New York Times, an affidavit attached to the warrant said the three “did willfully, unlawfully and feloniously and without lawful authority, forcibly seize and confine and kidnap” Emmett, though it misspelled his last name. A note on the back of the warrant says Donham was not arrested because she could not be located at the time, the Times reported, citing filmmaker Keith A. Beauchamp, who was part of the team that discovered the warrant.


In March of 2018, the Department of Justice reopened Emmett Till’s murder case and this is petitioning is calling for:

1) The arrest of Carolyn Bryant Donham for perjury

2) Restitution of to the living family of Emmett Till (mandatory 5 to six figures)

3) Incorporation of the brutal murder of Emmett Till in all U.S history books

Sign the petition here for Change.org

Source: Sara Sidner, Tina Burnside and Dakin Andone, CNN, Change.org

Remembering Emmett Till

The Story Of Carolyn Bryant, The White Woman Whose Lie Caused The Murder Of Emmett Till

In 1955, Carolyn Bryant Donham claimed Emmett Till sexually harassed her, which led to the 14-year-old’s horrific lynching. More than 60 years later, she admitted to lying about the incident.

On Aug. 28, 1955, a black 14-year-old named Emmett Till was kidnapped from his relative’s home in Mississippi by two adult white men, who brutally beat him to death. His disfigured body was found in the Tallahatchie River three days later.

Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam were charged with Till’s murder. Following the highly publicized case, it was later revealed that they had killed the young boy after Bryant’s wife, Carolyn Bryant, accused Till of physically grabbing her and making lewd comments.

Till’s murder devastated the African American community, sparking a mass outcry from civil rights activists. Then, 62 years after Till’s murder, a researcher who interviewed Bryant wrote that she had confessed to lying about Till. But did she really admit to what many had long suspected?

Before she claimed notoriety for accusing Emmett Till of sexual harassment, Carolyn Bryant Donham was born in 1934, the daughter of a plantation manager and a nurse in Indianola, Mississippi.

A high school dropout, Bryant used her good looks to compete in beauty contests, winning at least two.

Later, she met Roy Bryant, an ex-soldier who she married and had two sons with. Together they owned a store named Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market in Money, a small town in the middle of the Mississippi Delta.

Not much is known about her life before Till’s infamous murder, but what is known paints the story of a white woman who grew up in an environment where blunt and violent displays of racism were ordinary.

Indianola, where Bryant was from, was the base of the Citizens’ Councils, which was a network of white supremacist organizations that opposed integration.

Money, where the couple’s store was opened, was in Mississippi, which had the highest number of lynching in America from 1882 to 1968.

“[She] thought the old system of white supremacy was wrong, though she had more or less taken it as normal at the time,” said Timothy Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmett Till. To this day, Tyson remains one of the only people to ever interview Carolyn Bryant.

On Aug. 28, 1955, Emmett Till, who was from Chicago and visiting family in Mississippi, was beaten to a pulp until his body was mutilated beyond recognition. Shortly thereafter, he succumbed to his injuries.

The perpetrators were Roy Bryant and his half-brother, J.W. Milam. They kidnapped the teenager from his great-uncle’s home and beat him to death after Carolyn Bryant accused him of sexually harassing her.

Till’s murder — only a year after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of desegregation in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case — sparked a mass outcry from civil rights organizations. The haunting image of the black teen’s body, photographed in Jet magazine after Till’s mother decided to hold an open casket ceremony for her son, fueled the civil rights movement.

It is still unclear what truly happened between Till, who was only 14 at the time, and Carolyn Bryant, then 21. One thing that is certain is the massive changes in Bryant’s account throughout the years.

Days after her husband and brother-in-law were charged with Till’s murder, Carolyn Bryant reportedly told her husband’s lawyer that Till insulted her but she did not mention any physical contact.

During the trial, Bryant testified — without the jury present — that Till followed her behind the counter, clasped her waist, and told her that he had been with white women before while using vulgar language.

“I was just scared to death,” she said on the stand at trial. There was also a version of her story that claimed Till had whistled at her, though that is unlikely because he was said to have a lisp.

There were also discrepancies in how her husband “found out” about Till’s alleged behavior. Initially, Bryant claimed she told her husband once he returned from a trip.

Later she told the FBI that her husband heard about it from someone who witnessed the exchange.

“I didn’t say anything, and one of the reasons I didn’t ever say anything more about it, was because I was afraid that, what I was worried about was he’s gonna go find and beat him up,” she told FBI agent Dale Killinger.

A month after being charged with Till’s murder, Bryant and Milam were acquitted by an all-white jury. The men later admitted to killing the teenager in a 1956 interview with Look magazine.

Carolyn Bryant, meanwhile, essentially went into hiding after her appearance in Till’s trial.

In 2017, Carolyn Bryant Donham was back in the headlines after author Timothy Tyson revealed that Bryant admitted to him in a 2008 interview that her 1955 accusation against Till was false.

In his book The Blood of Emmett Till, Tyson described Bryant’s recollection of the event as such:

“In her memoir she recounts the story she told at the trial using imagery from the classic Southern racist horror movie of the ‘Black Beast’ rapist. But about her testimony that Till had grabbed her around the waist and uttered obscenities, she now told me, ‘That part’s not true.’”

Bryant, who is now in her 80s and the only living key figure from the case, added that she couldn’t remember the details of what happened in the store more than 60 years ago. She said, “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.”

Tyson wrote that Emmett Till’s accuser also admitted she felt “tender sorrow” for his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, who devoted her life to the civil rights movement before her death in 2003.

After Carolyn Bryant’s recantation, the Department of Justice reopened Till’s murder case. Tyson turned in his materials to the FBI, including written notes and tape recordings of his interview with Bryant.

News of Bryant’s admission sparked renewed outrage. But her family denied she had confessed to lying about the incident with Till.

Tyson admitted that he had not caught the woman’s confession on tape — because he was in the midst of setting up the recorder — but he scrawled her statement on his notepad. Tyson shared a photo with the Clarion Ledger of his notes: “That pt wasn’t true…50 yrs ago. I just don’t remember…Nothing that boy ever did could justify what happened to him.”

Carolyn Bryant’s alleged confession highlights a horrific recurrence of white women weaponizing lies against black men that still persists today.

As recent as May 2020, a video of a white woman named Amy Cooper went viral when she feigned hysteria and claimed to police that she was being threatened by a black man named Christian Cooper. Fortunately, with a video recording, the man was able to document the disturbing lie.

But for each false claim caught on camera, countless others go unchallenged, like the accusation against Emmett Till, who suffered the ultimate consequence.

As for Till’s surviving loved ones, they were satisfied to hear that Bryant had finally confessed to lying.

By All That’s Interesting

Published January 27, 2017

Updated June 16, 2020

President Obama Signs ‘Emmett Till Bill’ To Reopen Civil Rights Cold Cases

President re-opens Emmett Till

Well, well, well now that’s a gift!!!! Merry Christmas,

The new legislation will allow civil rights cold cases that happened prior to 1970 to be reopened.

Source: President Obama Signs ‘Emmett Till Bill’ To Reopen Civil Rights Cold Cases

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