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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Some activists in Wake County want to see Carolyn Bryant-Donham arrested. She’s the woman who, in 1955, accused 14-year-old Emmett Till of whistling at her and groping her in Mississippi. Till was killed days later.
Now activists are calling on Wake County officials to work with officials in Mississippi to achieve justice.
At one point, Tim Tyson, a senior research scholar at Duke University interviewed Bryant-Donham about the accusation she made.
He claimed in his book, The Blood of Emmett Till, that Bryant-Donham confessed to lying in court. Since the statute of limitations for perjury had expired at the time she allegedly admitted that, nothing came of it. Bryant-Donham’s family has since denied that she made that confession.
In late June, the torch of this story reignited when an unserved warrant was found in a Mississippi courtroom basement for Bryant-Donham’s arrest. The arrest warrant was for the charge of kidnapping in the case, but since the warrant was never served, she was never arrested.
“Today in Wake County, [we hope] she gets arrested, that’s our goal for today,” John Barnett, who led a Friday press conference, said.
Two men, one of them Bryant-Donham’s then-husband, were tried in Tills’ murder but acquitted. Now after that unserved warrant was found, activists say it’s time for the next arrest.
“Mississippi we’re asking you, execute the warrant, execute the warrant so they can come to Raleigh, or Raleigh will transport her back to Mississippi,” Barnett said.
But some say Bryant-Donham, now in her 80s, shouldn’t be arrested with a warrant so old. Barnett, though, says justice should come no matter how old.
“If anybody asks you about this lady being 87-years-old, tell them he was 14-years-old,” he said at that press conference.
He says when it comes to Till, who will forever be 14-years-old, justice is overdue.
“Be it 50 years, be it 70 years, be it 100 years, I believe that innocent blood is crying from the grave for America to do something about it,” Barnett said.
Till’s family was traveling on Friday, so they were unable for an interview but they did release a statement saying in part, “Justice delayed should not be justice denied.” They also say the rally was not affiliated with their family.