Carolyn Bryant Donham Denies Wanting Emmett Till To Be Lynched In Unpublished Memoir

Jaelani Turner-Williams Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with…
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In an 99-page manuscript titled ‘I Am More Than A Wolf Whistle,’ Carolyn Bryant Donham claims that she didn’t want Emmett Till to be lynched.

As the search for Carolyn Bryant Donham continues, an unpublished memoir from the 88-year-old has surfaced. Titled I Am More Than A Wolf Whistle, Donham claims that she did not call for the lynching of Emmett Till, who in August 1955 was lynched by Donham’s husband, Roy Bryant, his accomplice, J.W. Milam and a mob of whites in Mississippi. According to Associated Press, The Blood of Emmett Till author Timothy Tyson obtained a copy from Donham in 2008 when interviewing her.

“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,” Donham states in the manuscript compiled by her daughter-in-law. “I tried to protect him by telling Roy that ‘He’s not the one. That’s not him. Please take him home.’”

Donham adds that she “always felt like a victim as well as Emmett” and “paid dearly with an altered life” for what happened to him.

“I have always prayed that God would bless Emmett’s family. I am truly sorry for the pain his family was caused,” she said.

Tyson initially placed I Am More Than A Wolf Whistle in archive at the University of North Carolina, under the agreement that the manuscript would not be made public for decades. The author and historian gave the manuscript to the FBI during an investigation that concluded in 2021, but he’s now making it public after the recent discovery of an 1955 arrest warrant for Donham.

“The potential for an investigation was more important than the archival agreements, though those are important things,” Tyson said. “But this is probably the last chance for an indictment in this case.”

Deborah Watts, a cousin of Till and executive director of Emmett Till Legacy Foundation says that the memoir is critical for the arrest of Donham, who is said to be in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“I truly believe these developments cannot be ignored by the authorities in Mississippi,” Watts said.

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