Emmett Till accuser retracts fatal statement

Ivan Rome

Black History Month starts this Wednesday, and one of the most notorious events in black history and American history is the murder of Emmett Till by Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam in August 1955.

14-year-old Emmett Till was kidnapped from his uncle’s home, beaten, abused, shot in the head and found floating in the Tallahatchie River tied to a cotton gin fan with barbed wired. What could a 14-year-old boy possibly have done to receive such cruel treatment?

“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” are the words of Carolyn Bryant Donham, who at the time of the murder was just Carolyn Bryant. She was the wife of Roy Bryant and the whole reason that this murder ever happened.

Bryant Donham was 21-years-old when she accused young Emmett Till of grabbing her, whistling at her and insulting her with lewd comments. Now she is 82-years-old and she has finally admitted that her accusations were all lies.

Ms. Donham has lived these past 60 years without consequence. She has been living for six decades knowing that a boy died due to her lies, and finally her guilty conscience can no longer rest. Her misrepresentations were more abominable than the murder, for if she told the truth, a life could have been saved.

A boy was murdered. A mother lost her son. Communities were devastated. 60 years have passed. Now the truth has finally come out that the motive for the murder of Emmett Till was based upon a few ‘alternative facts.’ What if she would have told the truth in 1955?

Maybe Emmett Till would still be alive today. Till’s cousin, Wheeler Parker, seems to think so. “It’s important to people understanding how the word of a white person against a black person was law, and a lot of black people lost their lives because of it,” said the 77-year-old in a recent interview.

What she did was immoral. Innocent people should not be punished nor should they die as a result of a person that chooses to lie. It happens too often.

Carolyn Bryant Donham does not deserve sympathy for her actions. She should be held responsible for them. She is a criminal. Whether she waited 6 years or 60 years to tell the truth, the fact of the matter is when the life of a 14-year-old boy depended on the truth, she lied. She has lived her life without punishment and that is not right.

People may disagree, arguing that an 82-year-old woman is too old for jail. Well, a 14-year-old boy was too young to die.

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