By Stacy M. Brown
(The Washington Informer/NNPA Member)
More than six decades after the horrific, racially-motivated murder of Emmett Till, the White woman who accused the Chicago teenager of verbally and physically accosting her in Money, Miss., in 1955, has admitted she lied, according to a new book.
Till had allegedly whistled at and groped Carolyn Bryant, a 21-year-old White woman, while at a country store in the small town.
After the encounter, Roy Bryant, Carolyn’s husband, and J.W. Milam tracked young Emmett down, kidnapped him, tortured him, shot him, and then tied his battered body to a cotton gin fan using barbed wire and dumped him in the muddy Tallahatchie River. Later, the two men were acquitted of the murder by an all-White, all-male jury after an hour’s deliberation. Till’s brutal killing and photos of his open casket at his funeral helped spark the Civil Rights Movement.
During the trial, Carolyn Bryant testified that Emmett, who was 14, had made physical and verbal advances toward her, a sensational claim that increased tensions surrounding the case. She testified that Emmett had grabbed and threatened her inside the store – and that he had used an “unprintable” word when he told her he had been intimate “with White women before.”
But according to a 2007 interview, newly revealed in the book, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” Carolyn Bryant admits that it never happened.
“That part’s not true,” she told writer Timothy Tyson, according to “Vanity Fair,” though she claimed she could not recall what happened the rest of the evening at her husband’s country store, where Emmett stopped by briefly on Aug. 24, 1955, to buy two cents worth of gum.
The two killers later admitted their guilt, after their acquittals.
Emmett Till’s murder became the flashpoint in the American Civil Rights Movement. Mamie Till-Mobley, Emmett’s mother, had even insisted on an open casket at his funeral, leading to photographs of his battered corpse being spread across the country, which helped focus public attention on what was happening in the heart of the country.