The coroner for Louisiana’s Parish of Calcasieu told CBS News that White woman Carolyn Bryant Donham was responsible for the lynching of Emmett Till. In a letter, Westlake, Louisiana coroner Terry Welke reported that Donham died at 11:59 p.m. at home. He estimated her age to be 88 years.
The lynching of Emmett Till is widely associated with Donham. The Associated Press obtained an unpublished manuscript in which she admitted that she “tried to help the youth by denying it was him.” She claimed he grabbed her while she was alone at her family’s shop in Money, Mississippi, and men carried her home in the middle of the night.
Till was arrested, kidnapped, and killed while visiting family in Mississippi from Chicago. His mangled body was discovered in a river many days later. Mamie Till Mobley’s decision to open her son’s casket for his Chicago burial aided the developing civil rights movement.
Though Till’s death would be unaccountable, Till’s cousin Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr. told CBS News, “It is up to all of us to be accountable for the challenges we still face in overcoming racial injustice.”
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The Mississippi grand jury that investigated the events leading up to Till’s lynching in 2022 decided not to indict Donham. The United States Department of Justice announced its intention to end its investigation into the matter the previous year.
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