The 1955 murder and lynching of 14-year-old Emmet Till will forever be a black eye on the face of history in this country. A murder that helped spark the civil rights movement now has a new shocking confession.
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According to a new book “The Blood of Emmett Till,” Carolyn Bryant, the white woman that Till allegedly made lewd sexual remarks to and whistled at, has now come out saying that she lied about what took place that day.
This is in stark contrast to what she said about the incident under oath. Bryant testified that Till had also made physical and verbal advances towards her in her husband’s store on Aug 24, 1955, when Till came in to buy 2 cents worth of gum.
Bryant, who is now known as Carolyn Bryant Donham, 82, told writer Timothy Tyson: “That part’s not true.” She told Vanity Fair that she couldn’t recall what happened the rest of the evening of Aug 24. Her lie resulted in Til’s death. He was found with bullet holes in the head, barbed wire around his neck, an eye gouged out and was dumped in the muddy Tallahatchie River.
Once Till was found, Bryant’s husband and a second white man were arrested. The two men later admitted they had tracked the Chicago teenager down and shot and bludgeoned him to death. Bryant told the court, “I was just scared to death.”
After an hour of deliberation from an all-white jury, they found both men not guilty. Bryant is quoted in the book saying, “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.”
After the trial, Bryant went into hiding and remarried twice. She remained silent regarding the case until this book came out. She told the writer that she “felt tender sorrow” for Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. Bryant didn’t state whether she had ever expressed guilt or apologized over the horrendous incident.
Till’s murder became the starting blocks of the civil right movement that would soon be brought to Washinton D.C. when Martin Lurther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech. Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks also used Till’s murder to show the world the injustice African Americans faced in the south.
Tyson told Vanity Fair, “That case went a long way toward ruining her life,” referring to Bryant having to go into hiding. At least she still had a life to live. The same can’t be said about Till.