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Woman Who Accused Emmett Till Of Advances Says She Didn't Want Him Lynched

Joe Harker

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Woman Who Accused Emmett Till Of Advances Says She Didn't Want Him Lynched

Featured Image Credit: Black Diaspora Voices/Twitter

The woman who accused 14-year-old Emmett Till of making 'advances' which led him to be lynched says she never wanted him to be killed.

On 21 August, 1955, young Emmett Till was visiting relatives in Mississippi when he spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant at the grocery store she owned along with her husband, Roy.

Emmett would end up being accused of making 'advances' on her, and was later abducted and lynched to death by her husband and his half-brother JW Milam.

The boy's body was tossed into a river, while at the trial his killers were acquitted of murdering him.

Protected under the double jeopardy rule that prevents people from being tried again on charges they've already been found guilty of, the two men soon admitted they had tortured and murdered Till in a magazine interview.

Since his murder Till became an symbol of the Civil Rights movement in the US and his picture is still held aloft at vigils for other murdered black men.

Emmett Till with his mother Mamie. Credit: Alamy
Emmett Till with his mother Mamie. Credit: Alamy

Now, an unpublished memoir from Carolyn claims she never wanted any harm to come to the 14-year-old boy and never identified him to his killers.

She wrote: "I did not wish Emmett any harm and could not stop harm from coming to him, since I didn’t know what was planned for him.

"I tried to protect him by telling Roy that 'He’s not the one. That’s not him. Please take him home.'"

She wrote that she 'always felt like a victim as well as Emmett' and 'paid dearly with an altered life' for living with his murder.

The 99 page manuscript ends with a message to the Till family which reads: "I have always prayed that God would bless Emmett’s family. I am truly sorry for the pain his family was caused."

Emmett's mother insisted on her son having an open casket funeral so all could see his mutilated body and witness what had been done to him.

Pictures of Till have been held up at vigils held for other black men who had been murdered. Credit: Alamy
Pictures of Till have been held up at vigils held for other black men who had been murdered. Credit: Alamy

Titled I am More Than A Wolf Whistle, the manuscript had been in the archives of the University of North Carolina with an agreement that it not be made public for decades.

However, historian Timothy Tyson decided it should be made public now following the recent discovery of an arrest warrant issued in 1955 for Carolyn but never served.

Deciding the possible need for an investigation was more important than the agreement to keep the memoir in the archives for years to come, he said it was 'probably the last chance for an indictment in this case'.

Former FBI agent Dale Killinger investigated the murder of Till 15 years ago and said the manuscript contained a number of contradictions.

There are claims in the pages which have never been mentioned before, while Tyson said Carolyn's writings exonerating herself needed to be 'a good-sized shovel full of salt'.

The most recent investigation into the lynching of Emmett Till closed in December last year with no new charges.

Topics: News, US News, Black Lives Matter

Joe Harker
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