An excerpt from the unpublished memoir of Emmett Till’s accuser has been publicized. In the surfaced passage, she denies wishing the teenager any harm. The Associated Press reported the text was made public by historian and author Timothy Tyson who acquired the document in 2008 from Carolyn Bryant Donham herself.
Tyson decided to make the work public after it was reported last month that a 1955 arrest warrant issued for Donham was found in a Mississippi courtroom basement. The unpublished memoir was initially kept in an archive at the University of North Carolina under the agreement that it not be made public for decades. Tyson had also provided a copy to the FBI.
“The potential for an investigation was more important than the archival agreements, though those are important things,” Tyson explained according to the news outlet. “But this is probably the last chance for an indictment in this case.”
Titled I am More Than A Wolf Whistle, Donham claimed she wished Till no harm in the 99-page manuscript. The memoir was compiled by Donham’s daughter-in-law. In the document, she described that she “always felt like a victim as well as Emmett.”
“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,” reads Donham’s written text. “I tried to protect him by telling Roy that ‘He’s not the one. That’s not him. Please take him home.’”
“I have always prayed that God would bless Emmett’s family. I am truly sorry for the pain his family was caused,” expressed Bryant near the end.
Deborah Watts, a cousin of Till who leads the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, expressed her belief that the memoir coupled with the warrant highlights new evidence that proves Donham’s involvement in the case. The memoir reportedly contains contradictions surrounding the landmark case.
“I truly believe these developments cannot be ignored by the authorities in Mississippi,” she said, according to AP.
The Independent reported protestors in North Carolina entered a senior living facility earlier this month in search of Carolyn Bryant Donham after previously visiting an apartment where they believed she lived.
“I do understand that Ms. Bryant is in her mid-to late-eighties, but understandably, this is a crime she committed when she was 22. Sixty years later, it’s time for her to be held accountable,” shared one person who participated in the demonstration.
The current Leflore County Miss. Sheriff Ricky Banks explained he obtain a copy of the warrant, work with the district attorney, and would be in contact with officials in Bryant Donham’s hometown to determine how to proceed