Accuser Admits To Lying In 1955 Emmett Till murder Case
For six decades, she has been the silent woman linked to one of the most notorious crimes in the nation’s history, the lynching of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy, keeping her thoughts and memories to herself as millions of strangers idealized or vilified her.
But all these years later, a historian says that the woman has broken her silence, and acknowledged that the most incendiary parts of the story she and others told about Emmett — claims that seem tame today but were more than enough to get a black person killed in Jim Crow-era Mississippi — were false.
The woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, spoke to Timothy B. Tyson, a Duke University professor — possibly the only interview she has given to a historian or journalist since shortly after the episode — who has written a book, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” to be published next week.
In it, he wrote that she said of her long-ago allegations that Emmett grabbed her and was menacing and sexually crude toward her, “that part is not true.”
The revelations were first reported on Friday by Vanity Fair.
As a matter of narrow justice, it makes little difference; true or not, her claims did not justify any serious penalty, much less death.
The two white men who were accused of murdering Emmett in 1955 — and later admitted it in a Look Magazine interview — were acquitted that year by an all-white, all-male jury, and so could not be retried.
They and others suspected of involvement in the killing died long ago.