Carolyn Bryant’s Involvement To The Murder Of Emmett Hill

Emmett Till, at the age of 14, was accused of flirting with a white woman named Carolyn Bryant and was beaten to death by her husband Roy and his half-brother J.W. Milam in 1955. Emmet Till was a Black boy who was visiting his family in Mississippi during that time. The two men who are also white, were acquitted of this horrifying crime. However, in an interview after the trial, Roy and J.W. confessed to killing Emmett and disappeared on their own lives. The question is – where is Carolyn Bryant?

carolyn bryant

What Happened To Carolyn Bryant?

In a grocery store ran by Carolyn and her husband Roy called Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, is where the alleged exchange between her and Emmett took place. On a hot summer day in August 1955, Emmett – known for being a prankster – entered the store. She claimed that Emmett Till came up behind the counter where she worked, grabbed her by surprise with an obscene comment before whistling at her before he left.

When Carolyn’s husband returned home a few days later and heard about what happened, Roy called his half-brother J.W., and both of them kidnapped and eventually murdered Emmett Till. The all-white jury declared them not guilty of murder.

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After what happened, Carolyn divorced Roy and took their children with her. She remarried twice and never spoke again about Emmett Till in public. However, in 2007, she was interviewed by Duke University senior research scholar Timothy Tyson. He was writing a book about Emmett Till.

In the book entitled The Blood of Emmett Till details about what happened that day was written. When asked about the interaction, Carolyn admitted that Emmett did not say anything to her and he didn’t touch her in any way. Timothy said Carolyn was glad the times have changed. Though she didn’t expressly ask for forgiveness. Nevertheless, she did mention that she felt a measure of ‘tender sorrow’ towards Mamie Till-Mobley, Emmett’s mother.

As this came to light, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has once again opened the case, but it was closed in December 2021 because they were unable to prove that Carolyn lied. When asked about the recantation, the DOJ stated that Carolyn “denied to the FBI that she ever recanted her testimony.” Timothy had recorded their conversation but could not produce the tape with the recantation on it. His assistant also transcribed the interview, which the said recantation was also missing.

Where is Carolyn Bryant Now?

It’s believed that Carolyn is still alive today, and if so, she would be 88 years old. Carolyn’s family kept details about her whereabouts private, but it is said that she was in poor health before Timothy Tyson published his book.

The Memory of Emmett Till is Still Hard To Forget.

Even though the ABC limited series Women of the Movement brought light on Emmett Till’s story, there are still a lot of things to be done. The grocery store where Emmett’s demise began is in ruins, but its owners refused on selling it. The Clarion Ledger reported in August 2018 that the selling price of this dilapidated building is $4 million. It feels pretty calculated and cruel.

carolyn bryant

The attempts to purchase the building and turn it into a museum for civil rights has been thwarted by Ray Tribble’s children. Ray is one of the jurors who voted to acquit Emmett’s murderers, and still defended his decision long after the trial. It’s hard to find the words for this situation, but “disgusting” is an excellent starting point. Fortunately, there are organizations like the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation who are working hard to preserve his memory.

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