By Duvalier Malone
As I watched the news coverage of Emmett Till’s accuser now saying that she never admitted to the crime, I wondered one thing: Is white guilt being transformed into white innocence right before our very eyes? A year ago, on the anniversary of the horrible killing of 14- year-old Black boy Emmett Till, I held a rally where I demanded justice. One of the major catalysts for this rally was the leaked admission from Carolyn Bryant Donham, that her lies were what led to young Emmett’s tragic murder.
She admitted to an interviewer named Timothy B. Tyson that when she told her husband that Emmett grabbed her and assaulted her, it was all a lie. When her husband Roy Bryant and his brother went and kidnapped Emmett from his great uncle’s house, it was because they were driven by Donham’s lies.
Carolyn Bryant Donham is responsible. She is complicit in one of the most horrible hate-fueled murders in American history. When she was interviewed by Mr. Tyson, Donham admitted her part. Perhaps she thought that since so much time had passed, that she could finally confess and try to lift her heavy burden of guilt that she had been carrying for so many decades.
I don’t believe in Americans being divided along racial lines, but sometimes we have to call a spade a spade. The murder of Emmett Till was racially motivated. This was a hate crime committed by two white men against one black boy, and the cause of this crime was the lie told by one white woman: Carolyn Bryant Donham.
And now, a year and a half after her confession was released, Donham’s family denies that she ever confessed.
What changed in the past year and a half to make them start the denials now? It’s simple. The Justice Department just recently announced their probe into Emmett’s murder. And because of this, Donham and her family are backtracking.
She probably never expected an investigation to be opened after so many years; and now she’s simply doing what criminals do when they are caught. They try to lie and change their story.
As we watch this travesty unfold, it’s just a reminder that this is America. I would like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not.
This is just a reminder of how undervalued black lives are in our country. It’s been a historic constant that white perpetrators have either been allowed to walk free if the victim was black, or the investigations into their crimes have been undermined.
It always seems that morality is flexible if the victim is Black. Standards of guilt are automatically
lowered and innocence is still assumed in the face of overwhelming evidence of guilt.
African Americans have historically been denied justice. When does it stop? When do we finally admit the truth?
All we want is for Carolyn Bryant Donham to stop denying what we all know is true. We want her to stop her denials of her role in Emmett’s murder. Let the Justice Department’s investigation take place, and let justice prevail.