He’s been dead for more than 60 years. Buried with Emmett Till was the truth to what led to brutal murder in 1955. But the latest development in the case is not going well the Till’s relatives in Chicago, the murder boy’s hometown, where schools and streets are named after him.
A new book about the murder is out and the woman whose accusations led to the brutal killing of the 14-year-old confessed that her story was a lie. Like Till’s killers, Carolyn Bryant Donham will not be brought to justice or face any charges for perjury.
Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, never found justice for her son before she died in 2003. Now, the last surviving figure in one of the most shocking murder cases from the Jim Crow era will mostly likely go unpunished.
Legal analysts say the case involving Donham is too old to prosecute, and Till’s killers have been dead for a long time.
Till was a fun-loving teenager who lived in Chicago’s predominately Black Woodlawn neighborhood for years before he made a fateful trip to Mississippi at a time when many Blacks were being lynched and terrorized in the Deep South. Till and his mother are buried in Chicago’s Burr Oak Cemetery. Decades after he was buried, the teenager’s grave continues to draw more visitors than any other resting place in the cemetery on the city’s South Side.
Now, Till’s murder case is back in the national spotlight with a new book where Donham recants her story after more than 60 years of silence since Till was brutally killed by two White men in Money, Miss. In the book, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” Donham said she lied during the criminal trial before her husband, Roy Bryant, and J.W. Milam were acquitted after proceedings that lasted just over an hour.
For decades, Donham remained silent as millions of Americans were led to believe that Till whistled at her, grabbed her and verbally accosted her, before the two men kidnapped him in the pre-dawn hours of August 26, 1955. The two murdered Till during a brutal beating that severely disfigured Till’s face and body. They shot him in the head before throwing his body in the Tallahatchie River. Days later, Till’s body was found with a large cotton gin fan tied around him with barb wire.
Mississippi officials urged Till’s mother to keep his body shut tight in the casket, but Till-Mobley defied the orders. Pictures of Till’s face in Ebony, Jet and other newspapers horrified the nation and the world.
At an open-casket funeral at the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Bronzeville, Till’s mother wanted to show what the men had done to her son. Black historians say Till’s murder led Rosa Parks to refuse to give up her bus seat in a historic act that sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement. The Emmett Till murder case continues to burn with interest today and is the subject of many books and documentaries.