Carolyn Bryant Donham, who falsely accused 14-year-old Emmett Till of making advances toward her, which led to his kidnapping and murder, has passed away at the age of 88. In 1955, when Donham was 21, she accused Till of whistling at her after he left a store in Mississippi. This accusation resulted in Till being taken from his great-uncle’s home by Donham’s husband and half-brother and later being lynched.
According to Mississippi Today, Donham had been receiving hospice care as she was suffering from cancer. In August of last year, a grand jury in Mississippi decided not to charge her in connection to the death of 14-year-old Till.
The chief investigator for the Calcasieu Parish coroner’s office, Megan LeBoeuf, released a statement on Thursday confirming the death of Carolyn Bryant Donham. Donham passed away on Tuesday in the small southern Louisiana city of Westlake. No further details were provided in the statement.
In light of Carolyn Bryant Donham’s recent passing, there has been a significant amount of discussion surrounding the events that took place in August 1955. Many people are curious to learn more about the incident that occurred on that day, as well as about Carolyn Bryant’s husband and his involvement in the matter.
Who Was Carolyn Bryant’s Husband?
Roy Bryant, a former soldier, was married to Carolyn Bryant Donham, and both were implicated in the murder of Till in 1955. The couple ran a small grocery store named Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market and lived in two small rooms located at the back of the store, where they raised their two sons.
Roy worked as a trucker along with his half-brother J.W. Milam, who had served in World War II and was decorated with combat medals. Roy Bryant passed away in 1994 without ever being held accountable for the murder of Till.
What Happened Between Carolyn Bryant And Emmett Till: How Did He Die
On the evening of August 24, 1955, when the incident initially occurred, Roy Bryant was away on a trucking job. Emmett Till entered Bryant’s Grocery and purchased two cents’ worth of bubble gum. An altercation occurred between Till and Carolyn Bryant, but it is unclear what exactly happened. Bryant left the store in a fit of anger, and Till was told by children outside that she had gone to retrieve a pistol. Fearing for his safety, Till left the scene.
Emmett was visiting family in Mississippi at the age of 14 when Carolyn, who was 21 years old at the time, accused him of making inappropriate comments and grabbing her at a local store.
Following this, two white men abducted Till at gunpoint. It was suspected that Donham identified Till as the attacker. They savagely beat him, shot him in the head, and used barbed wire to tie his body to a large metal fan before throwing both into a river. Till’s badly disfigured body was found a few days later.
In an effort to expose the brutality of Till’s murder, his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, decided to have an open casket funeral in Chicago, allowing the world to see the horrific impact of the attack. This decision led to widespread outrage, sparking nationwide protests for civil rights reform. An unserved 1955 arrest warrant charged Donham, her then-husband Roy Bryant, and her brother-in-law J.W. Milam with Till’s abduction.
The death of Carolyn Bryant means that the full extent of what took place on that August day in 1955 may never be fully uncovered.