Carolyn Bryant Donham is responsible for the murder of Emmett Till. She was the white woman who said that he had whistled at her and made “verbal and physical advances on her.” Till was abducted and beaten to death. Emmett Till was 14 years old at the time. His murder is considered one of the catalysts for the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
In an interview with the author of the book The Blood of Emmett Till (Simon & Schuster), Timothy Tyson, Donham admitted that she had lied at the time. Her testimony allowed his murderers to go free. According to Vanity Fair,
But the most explosive testimony, which certainly influenced the local white public’s perception of the motive for the murder, were the incendiary words of Carolyn Bryant, who was working in the store that night. On the stand, she had asserted that Till had grabbed her and verbally threatened her. She said that while she was unable to utter the “unprintable” word he had used (as one of the defense lawyers put it), “he said [he had]’”—done something – “with white women before.’” Then she added, “I was just scared to death.”
It was all a lie, a vicious and unforgivable lie. Donham is 82 years of age now and this is the first interview she has given. One can only hope that she has lived a life that has never escaped from the evil that she has done.