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Arrest warrant found for woman whose accusations led to Emmett Till's murder

Emmet Till and his mother Mamie Till in an undated photo. An arrest warrant for the white woman whose allegations led to Emmet Till's 1955 Mississippi kidnapping and murder has been discovered, prompting a call to reopen the case. Photo via Emmett Till Foundation Facebook page
Emmet Till and his mother Mamie Till in an undated photo. An arrest warrant for the white woman whose allegations led to Emmet Till's 1955 Mississippi kidnapping and murder has been discovered, prompting a call to reopen the case. Photo via Emmett Till Foundation Facebook page

June 30 (UPI) -- An unserved arrest warrant has been found for the White woman whose accusations led to the brutal 1955 murder of Black 14-year-old Emmet Till in Mississippi. Till's murder galvanized the civil rights movement.

The warrant for Carolyn Bryant Donham, now in her 80's, was found by a team of researchers, including Emmet Till's relatives, in the basement of a courthouse in Greenwood, Mississippi.

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The warrant, on a charge of kidnapping from Leflore County, Miss., named her as "Mrs. Roy Bryant." Others named in the warrant were J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant.

Till was kidnapped and murdered after Carolyn Bryant Donham, a White woman, accused Till of whistling at her in a store.

According to the New York Times, an affidavit attached to the warrant said that the three "willfully, unlawfully and feloniously and without lawful authority, forcibly seize and confine and kidnap Emmitt Lewis Tell (sic)." The affidavit misspelled Till's name.

The Times said a note on the back of the warrant from a local sheriff said Ms. Donham was not arrested because she was not in the county at the time.

The Emmett Till Foundation called for Carolyn Bryant Donham to be charged based on the discovered arrest warrant.

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In a tweet the foundation urged people to call or email Mississippi District attorney W. Dewayne Richardson to ask that he convene a grand jury and charge Donham in Till's kidnapping and murder.

According to the Justice Department, Roy Bryant, his half brother J. W. Milam and at least one other person abducted Till from the home of a relative. Three days later Till's brutally beaten body was found floating in the Tallahatchie River.

The Justice Department said state officials charged Roy Bryant and Milam with murder but they were acquitted by an all-White jury. Both Bryant and Milam confessed to kidnapping and murdering Till in the January 1956 edition of Look Magazine.

President Joe Biden signed the Emmet Till Anti-Lynching Act earlier this year after many attempts to pass it.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Keith Beauchamp, a filmmaker who helped find the arrest warrant, said he hopes this moves the case forward.

"She has been evading justice for over 66 years now," Beauchamp said, adding, "The only reason why Carolyn Bryant was never given that warrant was because of the protection of White womanhood."

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