A WOMAN at the centre of the notorious murder case of 14-year-old Emmett Till has admitted to fabricating her testimony which contributed to the acquittal of his killers.
Historian Timothy B Tyson revealed at the weekend that Carolyn Donham broke her long public silence in an interview with him in 2008.
The interview features in his book The Blood of Emmett Till, published this week.
“She told me: ‘Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him’,” said Mr Tyson.
Emmett was tortured and lynched in 1955 in Mississippi after allegedly whistling at a white woman, then known as Carolyn Bryant. His murder became a galvanising event in the burgeoning civil rights movement and has been the subject of numerous books and movies.
Ms Bryant told the court, during the trial of her then husband Roy Bryant and his brother JW Milam, that Chicago resident Emmett, who was visiting family, had grabbed her when he came into her shop and was sexually crude about her.
Ms Bryant admitted to the historian that this part of her testimony, which is believed to have vastly influenced the jury, was not true.
The two men were acquitted by the all-white jury. Both men, who admitted later to having murdered Emmett, have since died.
The Justice Department reexamined the case a decade ago, but no-one was indicted as a murderer or an accomplice. Mr Tyson said that he had spoken to Ms Donham after her daughter-in-law Marsha Bryant contacted him.
The Emmett Till Legacy Foundation has shared news reports about the book on Instagram and asked if Ms Donham would have the “decency and courage” to speak to Emmett’s relatives.