INJUSTICE

Emmett Till Murder Trial Witness: I Lied

The main witness in the 1955 trial of two white men who lynched black teenager Emmett Till recently confessed to having fabricated key parts of her testimony. According to Timothy Tyson, a Duke University senior research scholar, Carolyn Bryant Donham—who in 1955 was a young white mother of two—confessed in 2007 to having lied about Till making verbal and physical advances at her. The allegations that he had leered at her were what led to the two men, including Donham’s then-husband, brutally killing the young boy. “That part’s not true,” she told Tyson about such claims. She could not recall what happened the rest of the evening at the country store where she encountered Till. The most famous account of their interaction included the young boy whistling at her, which also may not have ever happened as Till had a lisp. The confession was revealed in Tyson’s new book, The Blood of Emmett Till.