Over 60 years ago on August 28, 1955, Carolyn Bryant Donham, a White woman, told a lie that got a 14-year-old boy killed.
Emmett Till was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered after Donham accused him of whistling at her at the Bryant Grocery Store in Mississippi. Roy Bryant, Donham’s then-husband, and J. W. Milam kidnapped and brutally murdered Till. Mamie Till held an open-casket funeral for her son so that the world could see what the men had done to her boy. Donham has since admitted that she lied. She is reportedly 85 years old, has never paid for falsely accusing a child of a crime, which for him lynched. In addition, her nephew, Phil Bryant, is governor of Mississippi.
Many people are finding this ironic with Jussie Smollett currently in jail for allegedly falsifying a police report, which is a felony.
In 2017, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” a book by Timothy Tyson, claims that Carolyn Bryant Donham admitted to lying about Till whistling at her, prompting a mob of White men to pursue and kill him in Money, Mississippi, at the height of Jim Crow laws in 1955.
“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” Donham is quoted as saying in the book, writes the New York Daily News. At trial, Carolyn Bryant delivered the most explosive testimony, claiming that Till had grabbed and threatened her inside her husband’s store. “That part’s not true,” she says in Tyson’s book, according to Vanity Fair.
In August of 2017, Community Activist Duvalier Malone organized efforts to bring Donham to justice for her part in this heinous crime, according to a statement from Jamar Muhammad with Theatrical Harmony Media. In February, Malone led the Emmett Till Rally in Washington, D.C., to demand justice and an apology from the woman who never made amends for her lie. Donham never even reached out to Mamie Till, the mother who lost her 14-year-old son to a lie. Mamie Till lived until 2003.
“We are demanding justice and an apology for the lie of Carolyn Bryant,” Malone said in the statement. “We have read legal opinions and opinions of many in the public that said no charges can happen. They also go on to say that the statute of limitations has run out. Today, we say where is justice for Emmett Till? We demand it. We want it. But, we just don’t want a conviction, we want an apology.”
Donham only admitted her lie to a white author, Timothy Tyson, who has since put her testimony “under lock and key,” the Amsterdam News reports. Donham’s confession is under restriction until 2036. Malone and others are calling for an immediate apology to Till’s remaining family.
In a February 2017 press conference, Malone said, “We must refuse to sit back on the 62nd anniversary of Emmett Till death and be silent. We must demand that justice be served.” In February, other protesters demanded that the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Mississippi Attorney General reopen the case. In April of 2017, former AG Sessions met with the Till family and there was talk to reopen the case, which never happened.
The double standard is insane. Hopefully, Jussie is treated fairly in the criminal justice system.