Emmett Till Family Calling For Arrest of Carolyn Bryant Donham After Old Arrest Warrant Surfaces

An arrest warrant has been found nearly 70 years later for Carolyn Bryant Donham, the woman who accused Emmett Till of sexual harassment.

An unserved warrant for Carolyn Bryant Donham has recently been discovered in the basement of a Mississippi courthouse. Now in her ’80s, Donham accused Chicago teenager Emmett Till of flirting with her during his 1955 visit to Mississippi, which turned fatal. In August of that year, Till was visiting relatives in the Delta region of Mississippi, where he was later abducted and killed by a violent mob of whites, including her now-deceased husband Roy Bryant, who heard about his alleged encounter with Donham.

Last week, a warrant for Donham was found, identifying her as “Mrs. Roy Bryant” on the document. According to Associated Press, the warrant, dated August 29, 1955, was found inside a file folder that had been placed in a box.

“They narrowed it down between the ’50s and ’60s and got lucky,” said Leflore County Circuit Clerk Elmus Stockstill.

Although the arrest warrant was publicized at the time, the then-Leflore County sheriff told reporters that he did not want to “bother” Donham who was caring for her two children. Roy Bryant and his accomplice J.W. Milam abducted Till from his uncle Mose Wright’s house before torturing and killing Till. The two were later acquitted of murder.

Till’s surviving family is now seeking Donham’s arrest, including his cousin Deborah Watts, head of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation and her daughter, Teri Watts.

“Serve it and charge her,” Teri Watts told the AP in an interview.

Most recently living in North Carolina, in 2017, Donham confessed that she fabricated the story that Till allegedly whistled and made advances towards her before his death. Donham has not spoken publicly about Till’s lynching.

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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Jaelani Turner-Williams

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