true crime

Emmett Till: Woman who triggered 1955 murder of African American boy admits lying about harassment.

The white woman who testified a black boy had physically and verbally harassed her, resulting in the boy’s brutal murder, has confessed she lied.

In August 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was visiting family in Money, Mississippi from Chicago, according to the US Library of Congress.

Carolyn Bryant, 21, who was working behind the counter in a grocery store, alleged the young boy wolf-whistled at her.

Three nights later Ms Bryant’s husband Roy Bryant and her brother-in-law JW Milam kidnapped Till, brutally beat him and gouged out his eyes before shooting him in the head.

They then dumped the boy in the Tallahatchie River.

When the men went to trial Ms Bryant testified that Till had physically and verbally harnessed her in the store.

Both Mr Bryant and Mr Milam were acquitted by an all-white jury.

Despite later admitting their guilt, the men were never jailed. Both have died.

Sixty-two years later Ms Bryant, now Caroline Bryant Donham according to, revealed her testimony was a lie.

Speaking with Timothy Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmett Till, about the harassment claim in 2007 she said “that part’s not true”.

“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” the then 72-year-old told Tyson.

Ms admitted she “felt tender sorrow,” for the boy’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley.

Thousands of people attended Mr Till’s funeral in Chicago, where his open casket revealed the boy’s injuries had left his face almost unrecognisable.


A photo of his bludgeoned face was circulated around the state by Jet magazine, which was marketed to African-American readers.

Till’s image and his murder would act as a catalyst to spark the civil rights movement.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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