Photo: Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images
  /  02.11.2023

Every avenue to achieve justice for Emmett Till is being explored by his family. The latest efforts are being spearheaded by Patricia Sterling, Till’s cousin. The Mississippi resident filed a lawsuit against Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks in hopes that Carolyn Bryant Donham, a white woman, will finally be served a decades-old arrest warrant.

As previously reported by REVOLT, the warrant, dated Aug. 29, 1955, was uncovered in the basement of a courthouse in 2022. While Till’s family hoped that his accuser would finally have to face punishment for her involvement in his kidnapping and death, officials ultimately determined that because 67 years had passed since the warrant was issued, there was nothing they could do.

But that has not thwarted their pursuit of justice. “We are using the available means at our disposal to try to achieve justice on behalf of the Till family,” Trent Walker, Sterling’s attorney, told The Associated Press.

As most know, Till, then 14 years old, was accused of making lewd comments toward the woman in the segregated south in 1955. Last summer, Donham’s unpublished memoir, I Am More Than A Wolf Whistle, made headlines with its many claims of how she played a “small role” in the savage murder.

“I did not wish Emmett any harm and could not stop harm from coming to him, since I didn’t know what was planned for him,” claimed Donham in the book, but it was too late as Till’s fate was already determined. “I tried to protect him by telling Roy that ‘He’s not the one. That’s not him. Please take him home,’” she continued before stating that the teen identified himself to her then husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam. The two men stood trial for the murder but were acquitted.

While Till’s life ended much too soon, his death has not been in vain. With the help of his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, his tragic passing helped spur the civil rights movement. In December, Congress approved a bill to posthumously award him and Mamie with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor. And, after a drawn-out battle, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act was signed into law on March 29, 2022.



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