88-Year-Old White Woman Who Triggered The Lynching of Emmett Till is Seen For The First Time in 20 Years

88-Year-Old White Woman Who Triggered The Lynching of Emmett Till is Seen For The First Time in 20 Years

Back in 1955, a 21-year-old Mississippi woman by the name of Carolyn Bryant put in motion a chain of horrific events that led to the brutal torture and lynching death of a 14-year-old boy by the name of Emmett Till. The story is back in the news because until now, Carolyn hadn’t been seen in 20 years. And in that time, the Till family uncovered some new evidence in young Emmett’s case. It turns out there was an unserved warrant for Carolyn’s arrest almost 70 years ago. At the time of the warrant being issued, Carolyn’s legal name was Carolyn Bryant Donham. Back then, the police decided not to serve her with it, because they claimed she was “busy” raising two kids. Good grief.

There were always questions about Carolyn’s story, which changed a lot. She added on the “grabbing” part later, after her husband and his half-brother were arrested.

Today, the 88-year-old woman is living in a small apartment in Kentucky with one of her kids, and she’s dying of cancer and is currently on hospice. But back in 1955, Carolyn caused quite a stir when she claimed that a 14-year-old black boy named Emmett Till “whistled” and grabbed at her outside the grocery store she and her husband owned. It was illegal for a black man to catcall a white woman, let alone “grab” at her, so when Carolyn told her husband, he went ballistic. He and his half-brother kidnapped Emmett from his aunt’s house, tortured him, and then lynched him.

Here is a recent photo of Carolyn.

Photo Credit: Daily Mail

Here’s what Daily Mail reported:

Carolyn Bryant Donham, now 88, has managed to go unseen since 2004, going on to live a long life – and now spending her final days in apparent tranquility – despite her role in 14-year-old Emmett Till’s lynching in 1955
At the time Donham was a 21-year-old married mother-of-two who accused the young black boy of whistling at her – a violation of the South’s racist societal codes –  at a Mississippi store, setting off his brutal murder
Today, she is living in a small apartment community in Kentucky with her son, Thomas Bryant, 71, and their pet shih tzu, as seen in these exclusive DailyMail.com photos
Donham, who was wearing a nasal cannula looped over her ears and into her nose, suffers from cancer, is legally blind, and is receiving end of life hospice care in her home
When approached by DailyMail.com, Donham stood by silently behind her son, who shook his head when asked if either would speak about Till
Till’s beaten and mutilated body was thrown in the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi, weighted down with a large fan from a cotton gin, before being pulled out three days later on August 28
Donham’s then husband Roy Bryant and his brother John Milam were later tried and acquitted of Till’s murder, while she went on to evade charges or any consequences in a case that shocked the world for its brutality
An unserved warrant for Donham’s arrest was discovered by a team led by relatives of Till last month, bringing the case back into focus

This is the full story of what happened to Emmett Till:

Chicago teen Emmett Till was visiting relatives in the Deep South in the face of his mother Mamie Till’s misgivings. The child of sharecroppers, Mrs. Till had grown up in the Mississippi Delta before moving to Chicago.

She was uneasy when her uncle, Mose Wright, invited the boy to come and stay with him outside the tiny Delta town of Money in August 1955.

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Emmett was self-confident and a prankster who was well built and looked far older than his 14 years. Mrs. Till worried that this would go against him in the Deep South.

During Bryant and Milam’s trial much was made of Till’s stature, and he was repeatedly and wrongly referred to as a ‘man’ despite his tender years.

Money had one main street on which stood the Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market. On Wednesday August 24, Till and his cousins drove into Money to go to that store.

Till had supposedly boasted of his success at chatting up white girls in Chicago and one of his cousins said, as a challenge, there was a pretty one inside the store.

What happened next has been a source of contention for close to 70 years. Witnesses said that Till broke the Mississippi, Jim Crow-era custom that dictated black people should leave cash on the counter by placing it directly in Donham’s hand.

In court Donham testified that Till ‘grabbed’ her hand and said, ‘How about a date baby?’ She went further and said he put his hands on her waist and told her, ‘You needn’t be afraid of me baby. I been with white girls before.’

Chicago teen Emmett Till was visiting relatives in the Deep South in the face of his mother Mamie Till’s misgivings. The child of sharecroppers, Mrs. Till had grown up in the Mississippi Delta before moving to Chicago.

She was uneasy when her uncle, Mose Wright, invited the boy to come and stay with him outside the tiny Delta town of Money in August 1955.

Emmett was self-confident and a prankster who was well built and looked far older than his 14 years. Mrs. Till worried that this would go against him in the Deep South.

During Bryant and Milam’s trial much was made of Till’s stature, and he was repeatedly and wrongly referred to as a ‘man’ despite his tender years.

Money had one main street on which stood the Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market. On Wednesday August 24, Till and his cousins drove into Money to go to that store.

Till had supposedly boasted of his success at chatting up white girls in Chicago and one of his cousins said, as a challenge, there was a pretty one inside the store.

What happened next has been a source of contention for close to 70 years. Witnesses said that Till broke the Mississippi, Jim Crow-era custom that dictated black people should leave cash on the counter by placing it directly in Donham’s hand.

In court Donham testified that Till ‘grabbed’ her hand and said, ‘How about a date baby?’ She went further and said he put his hands on her waist and told her, ‘You needn’t be afraid of me baby. I been with white girls before.’

When Daily Mail asked Carolyn if she wanted to comment on Emmett, she didn’t say anything, but her son shook his head and said “no.”

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