The white woman who made an accusation against 14-year-old Black boy Emmett Till that led to his brutal lynching in 1955 has died in Louisiana, aged 88.
Per WNCN, the Calcasieu Parish coroner confirmed the death of Carolyn Bryant Donham in Westlake, Louisiana on Tuesday, April 25. When she was 21 in 1955, she accused the Black teenager of making advances toward her and whistling at her in a Mississippi Delta grocery store. Several days after she accused Till, her husband Roy Byrant, and his half-brother John William “J.W.” Milam, abducted Till from his home. They tortured him, shot him in the head, and tossed his body in the Tallahatchie River.
In recent years, activists in Raleigh, North Carolina have called for the arrest of Bryant Donham following the discovery of an unserved arrest warrant in connection with Till’s lynching in the basement of a Mississippi courthouse. Last year, a grand jury in Mississippi declined to indict the woman because there was no new evidence in the case. Her husband and Milam were acquitted by a jury made up entirely of white males. Following the verdict, just four months later, they confessed to killing Till under the protection of the double jeopardy clause which “prohibits anyone from being prosecuted twice for substantially the same crime."
Till’s relatives sought prosecution against Bryant Donham last year. She was never charged or trialed in the lynching of Till, whose death served as a major catalyst for the civil rights movement in the country.