Carolyn Bryant, Woman at Center of Emmett Till Killing, Dies
Carolyn Bryant passed away in a hospice in Westlake, Louisiana, on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, according to a death report filed in the Calcasieu Parish Coroner’s Office.
Her accusation that Emmett Till, 14, had whistled at her caused his death at the hands of two white men but also became a catalyst for the civil rights movement.
In August 1955, Mr. Till was visiting relatives in Mississippi. Donham, then 21 and known as Carolyn Bryant, accused Till of making improper advances on her at the store she worked at in the small community of Money.
One of Till’s cousins, Reverend Wheeler Parker, said that the 14-year-old boy whistled at the woman, an act that was contrary to the racist social codes of the era in the Deep South.
It is believed that Till was identified to Ms. Carolyn Donham’s then-husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother JW Milam, who abducted the teen several nights after the incident.
They beat and mutilated Till before shooting him in the head and leaving his dead body in the Tallahatchie river.
Mr. Till’s dead body was discovered swollen and bloated three days later and was returned to his mother Mrs Mamie Till Bradley in Chicago.
Mr. Till’s funeral captured international attention when Mamie Till Bradley insisted that her teenage son be buried in an open casket, saying: “There was just no way I could describe what was in that box. No way. And I just wanted the world to see.”
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Carolyn Bryant Passed Away at 88
Carolyn Bryant passed away at the age of 88, at 11:59 p.m. in her home, coroner Terry Welke confirmed in a fact-of-death letter.
Carolyn accused Emmett Till of making improper advances on her at a grocery store. Donham’s husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam, killed the teenager.
Pictures of Till’s body shocked America, and pressure was brought to bear on the state of Mississippi to bring Till’s murderers to justice.
Till’s mother insisted on an open-casket funeral in their hometown of Chicago so everybody could see her 14-year-old son’s mutilated body, which was pulled from a river in Mississippi.
Bryant and Milam were arrested and tried for the killing, but an all-white jury acquitted them.
In an unpublished memoir titled I am More Than A Wolf Whistle, Donham said she was unaware of what would happen to the teenager.
Reverend Wheeler Parker is the last living witness to Till’s abduction. He has said in several interviews and speeches that he heard Emmett Till whistle at the woman working behind the counter at Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market.
Days later, Parker saw men kidnap the teenager in the dark of night from their uncle’s home in Mississippi, where he was staying. Parker also said Thursday that his heart goes out to Donham.
“As a person of faith for more than 60 years, I recognize that any loss of life is tragic and don’t have any ill will or animosity toward her,” said Parker in a statement.
“Even though no one now will be held to account for the death of my cousin and best friend, it is up to all of us to be accountable to the challenges we still face in overcoming racial injustice,” he added.
Heartbreaking news! Although fans are still trying to find John Regan’s cause of death, sources revealed that the acclaimed rock bassist breathed his last on April 7, 2023. May he rest in peace.
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