The lynching of Emmett Till happened nearly 70 years ago and still serves as a stark reminder of racism Black Americans faced then and in current times. An investigative team recently discovered an arrest warrant for the slain boy’s accuser and the family is seeking an arrest.
The Associated Press reports that the team found the arrest warrant for Carolyn Bryant Donham, known at the time as Mrs. Roy Bryant, in the document that was found inside a file folder. Leflore County Circuit Clerk Elmus Stockstill confirmed the discovery to the outlet on Wednesday (June 29). The warrant was dated August 29, 1955, and the documents held by the courthouse were sorted by the decade.
“They narrowed it down between the ’50s and ’60s and got lucky,” Stockstill told the AP.
The Emmett Till Legacy Foundation and Till’s cousin, Deborah Watts, who leads the foundation, and her daughter, Tert Watts, were part of the search group who found the warrant. The family wants to produce the warrant as current and are seeking the arrest of Donham, now around 88. Back in 1955, Donham was married to Roy Bryant, one of the two white men who were tried and later acquitted of lynching Till after he was kidnapped from a family member’s home, beaten, and tossed into a river.
Also part of the search group was Keith Beauchamp. Beauchamp produced the documentary film, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, which came ahead of a Justice Department investigation that eventually stalled in 2007. However, Beauchamp believes this discovery counts as new evidence and the family wants the state of Mississippi to act.
Donham is reportedly living in North Carolina and has not made a public comment regarding the matter.