The woman who claimed that Emmett Till wolf–whistled at her, thus initiating the racism —motivated events that led him to be lynched, admitted that she made it up.
The woman in question, Carolyn Bryant Donham, revealed to Timothy Tyson —an author and Duke University Scholar she’d asked to help her write her memoir —that she was lying when she accused the 14–year–old, African–American Till of harrasing her in money, Mississippi in August 1955.
“That part is not true, ” Donham told Tyson. Carolyn Bryant’s story led to Till murder after she informed her husband, who in turn enlisted an accomplice to help him beat, torture and shoot Till to death.
Donham said to Tyson that she “felt tender sorrow ”toward Till’s mother, who suffered the pain of an open casket funeral for the sake of publicizing what her son’s attackers had to the boy.
“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,”a regretful Carolyn Bryant Donham said.
Carolyn Bryant Donham’s memoir —More than Wolf Whistle : The Story of Carolyn Bryant Donham —will not be released until 2038, per her request. In the meantime she has chosen to abandon the public eye.