Carolyn Bryant, Emmett Till’s Accuser, Dies

On August 28 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was murdered in Sunflower County, Mississippi. His killers, Roy Bryant and J.W. Millam, lynched Till because Bryant’s wife Carolyn had claimed Till had made sexual advances towards her.

The case was a flashpoint in the civil rights movement, especially after Bryant and Millam were acquitted by a jury. They later sold their confession to a magazine under double jeopardy protection. Till’s lynching has gone down in history as a stark example of the vile way that Black individuals were treated in the Southern United States during the Jim Crow era. However, in a bitter reminder that racial injustice is still alive and well today, memorials to Till have often been defaced and destroyed.

Carolyn Bryant Dead At 88

Carolyn Bryant’s allegations towards Emmett Till are what led to his murder. According to Bryant, who was 21 in 1955, Till wolf-whistled at her from outside the grocery store she and her husband owned. During her husband’s murder trial, Bryant also alleged that Till had entered the store and made sexual advances toward her. However, historian Timothy Tyson claims that Bryant said in a 2008 interview with him that her testimony in the 1955 trial was false. This claim has been corroborated by Till’s cousin and other witnesses. Roy Bryant found out about the alleged harassment from a friend who spent time at the store. Carolyn claimed not to have told him because she was afraid that he would assault Till.

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