Today Would Have Been Emmett Till’s 76th Birthday if a White Woman Didn’t Lie on Him
Emmett Till would have turned 76 today, July 25, had a white woman not lied on him. Roy Bryant’s wife, now known as Carolyn Bryant Donham after having divorced and married a few times (something not afforded to Emmett, by the way), broke her silence and admitted that she made up the most damning part of her testimony.
The 82-year-old confessed about 10 years ago to author Timothy Tyson, a Duke University senior research scholar, who was working on the book The Blood of Emmett Till.
“That part’s not true,” Donham reportedly told Tyson about her claim that Emmett made verbal and physical advances toward her.
Conveniently, Donham claimed that she didn’t remember exactly what happened in the store.
But Emmett’s family and much of the world were well aware of what happened to Emmett after she accused him of inappropriate advances. The terrified 14-year-old was kidnapped from the home of relatives by Donham’s then-husband and Milam. Emmett was beaten, mutilated and shot to death before the half brothers sank his body in a local river by tying a 75-pound gin fan around his neck.
Meanwhile, more than 60 years later, Emmett’s family is still seeking justice on behalf of their loved one, with his surviving relatives asking for the case to be reinvestigated after Donham admitted to lying on the teen.
One thing that’s always bothered me was that stories and events like this were never really shown or discussed in public schools. When I was going to school it was always: MLK, the Civil Rights movement, sit-ins, the boycotts etc. Schools never really showed the truly horrific stories that came with in this time of American history: the Emmet Till Murder, the Medgar Evers murder, The 16th St. Baptist Church bombing, Nat Turner’s uprising and many more. There are soo many stories like this to be told, yet are never discussed.