Woman who caused Emmett Till's death admits to lying in testimony


One of the most brutal and inhumane crimes of the twentieth century, Emmett Till's racially-charged murder etched his name in history as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement.

And now, it turns out that the testimony that incriminated Till over 60 years ago was falsified.

Carolyn Bryant Donham, the main witness at the center of the 1955 trial surrounding the lynching of Emmett Till by two white men, recently confessed to having lied in her testimony against the black teenager, according to a new book.

"Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him," Carolyn Bryant Donham was quoted as saying by author Timothy Tyson in the book, "The Blood of Emmett Till."

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The Chicago teen was traveling to see family in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi on Aug. 24 when he allegedly whistled at a white woman, Donham.

Emmett Till Murder Trial
Emmett Till Murder Trial

Four days later, two white men -- Donham's husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Miliam -- kidnapped Till, beat and shot him in the head. His body was later found in the Tallahatchie river.

Both men were tried for murder, but were acquitted by an all-white male jury. The defendants later confessed to the killing Till in an interview with Look magazine.

SEE ALSO: Emmett Till's memorial sign was vandalized with bullet holes

At the trial, Donham claimed the black teenager threatened her while making sexual advances towards her during her testimony, saying that Till told her had been intimate "with white women before."

"That part's not true," the then-72-year-old Donham told Tyson 2007, according to Vanity Fair's report.

Following the interview, Till's murder investigation was reopened in 2008, but the grand jury declined to indict Donham.

She contends that she "felt tender sorrow" for Mamie Till-Mobley, Till's mother who passed in 2003.

At age 82, Donham's whereabouts are currently unknown.