Domenica, 27 Mag, 2018

Woman says claims that led to Emmett Till's lynching 'not true'

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Rufina Vignone | 27 Gennaio, 2017, 21:27

It was the whistle that angered her former husband J.W. Milam, and his half-brother Roy Bryant, that they would kidnap Till and brutally murder him.

During the trial, Carolyn Bryant testified that she was "just scared to death". The jury didn't hear her testimony, but court spectators did, and it was also published on the record to be used in evidence in an appeal if Mila and Bryant were convicted.

Till went to a corner store for bubble gum while visiting family in MS on August 28, 1955 when a woman working there claimed he grabbed and sexually harassed her. Word got out about the incident and the woman's husband, Roy Bryant, set out for revenge. The news site noted that the now-82-year-old's whereabouts have been kept a secret by her family. She mostly disappeared for the public eye after the trial, resurfacing a little over a decade ago, when she reached out to Tyson about his book. And, according to Vanity Fair, although several other authors have written about Emmett's story, no one, with the exception of Tyson, has ever had the opportunity to interview Donham.

"That case went a long way toward ruining her life", Tyson said, explaining how the elderly woman never escaped the case's notoriety.

Discussing their encounters with Vanity Fair, Tyson recalls that Donham appears, "glad things had changed thought the old system of white supremacy was wrong, though she had more or less taken it as normal at the time". Her daughter had reportedly admired Tyson's earlier book Blood Done Sign My Name, which is centered on another racially charged murder committed by someone known to Tyson's family.

He said Donham's views on race had changed over the years, along with much of the country's.

As Vanity Fair notes, however, she didn't officially repent and is apparently not the type to join any racial-reconciliation groups. He says she would also admit, "Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him". Duke University historian and author Timothy Tyson's The Blood of Emmett Till revisits the case the Department of Justice in 2004 described as a "brutal murder and grotesque miscarriage of justice".

Till's murder investigation was reopened the next year. At the time, Donham was working in the store she owned with her husband.

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