Now That We Know (For Sure) That the White Woman That Had Emmett Till Killed Lied…Will Black America See Justice?

Emmett_Till_-_Startpage_Pictur2017-01-27_14-05-34.pngNew Book Reveals Emmett Till’s Accuser Lied About Claims OkayplayerTimothy Tyson‘s The Blood of Emmett Till reveals that Carolyn—in 2007, at age 72—confessed that she lied about the most sensational parts of her testimony. “That part’s not true,” she told Tyson, about her claim that Till had made verbal and physical advances on her. While she would go on to say that she doesn’t remember what happened afterwards, the now 82-year-old woman has lived a full life on an untruth that set the standard with how unarmed confrontations with white authority figures goes on today.

The Vanity Fair article would go on to report that Carolyn Bryant Donham did not “officially repent,” and it is known that she did not attend the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, which “attempts to promote understanding of the past and point a way forward.” As she begins to have her own late-blooming regret, we have to say that our hope is that America reads this full story, plus The Blood of Emmett Till and gain some awareness that the pain caused by ignorance affects us all.


How Author Timothy Tyson Found the Woman at the Center of the Emmett Till Case | Vanity Fair – But as Carolyn became reflective in Timothy Tyson’s presence, wistfully volunteering, “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.” She also admitted she “felt tender sorrow,” Tyson would note, “for Mamie Till-Mobley”—Emmett Till’s mother, who died in 2003 after a lifetime spent crusading for civil rights. (She had bravely insisted that her son’s casket remain open at his funeral in order to show America what had been done to him.) “When Carolyn herself [later] lost one of her sons, she thought about the grief that Mamie must have felt and grieved all the more.” Tyson does not say whether Carolyn was expressing guilt. Indeed, he asserts that for days after the murders, and until the trial, she was kept in seclusion by her husband’s family. But that “tender sorrow” does sound, in its way, like late-blooming regret.

However meaningful an appearance Carolyn Bryant Donham makes in Tyson’s book, she has receded into her private life. This is unfortunate. Her changed attitude, if genuine, might have real meaning today, what with a polarized electorate, renewed racial tensions, and organizations and Web sites promoting white supremacy.

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