Although nearly seven decades have passed since the horrific slaying of Emmett Till, Carolyn Bryant Donham has been in the headlines a lot recently. In 1955, Donham (a white woman) accused Till (a Black teen) of flirting with her and making lewd comments as he visited family in Mississippi. Till was then savagely killed by Donham’s husband and his half-brother. At a time when the South was deeply segregated, those involved never received jail time.
Last month (June 29), a warrant was found in the basement of a Mississippi courthouse calling for Donham’s arrest. Till’s accuser is now 88 years old, but that hasn’t stopped his family from wanting to see justice served. Unfortunately, because the document was dated Aug. 29, 1955, officials said there was nothing they could do. A week later (July 6), a group of protesters showed up at a retirement facility in North Carolina looking for Donham. It is one of the elderly woman’s last known addresses. They yelled for her to “come on out” and face her “demons.”
Yesterday (July 13), news of a newly discovered, unpublished memoir written by Donham circulated online. The book is titled, “I Am More Than A Wolf Whistle,” according to NewsOne. In it, Till’s accuser speaks openly about her role in his death. The book is believed to be written over 10 years ago. “It is my fervent desire that my story will shed light on what happened, at least as I knew and remembered it, and illuminate my small part in this tragedy,” an excerpt reads. The memoir is 100 pages and is dedicated to her daughter-in-law.
In the book, Donham shares how she received threatening phone calls after Till’s death. She adds that she was also harassed by the media. In excerpts published by Bossip, Donham claims Till cornered her during their encounter in the Mississippi store. “What’s the matter, baby? Can’t you take it? You needn’t be afraid of me, I’ve fucked white women before,” the 14-year-old allegedly told the woman.
Donham adds that on the night of Till’s death, she begged her husband to let him go. “You have the wrong person, it’s NOT him. Take him home, please take him home,” she wrote. She continued, “To my utter disbelief, the young man flashed me a strange smile and said, ‘Yes, it was me,’ or something to that effect.” According to NewsOne, the book ends with Donham seemingly feeling that she’s done a favor by sharing her story.