Angry Mob Storms Old Folks Home In Hunt For Emmett Till Accuser

Angry Mob Storms Old Folks Home In Hunt For Emmett Till Accuser

An angry mob stormed a North Carolina old folks home Wednesday in a fruitless hunt for the woman whose complaint 67 years ago led to the lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi.

The throng acted after a 1955 arrest warrant surfaced naming Carolyn Bryant Donham, the then-young woman whose accusation that Till, a black 14-year-old, had whistled at her, motivated the bloodthirsty racist mob. The modern mob believed it had tracked Donham, who would now be in her 80s, first to a home in Raleigh, then to a senior living facility.

“Time to face your demons,” a demonstrator at the facility said as shocked resident watched, according to WRAL. “Come on out.”

Emmett Till protesters storm senior living facility in search of his false accuser

— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) July 8, 2022

Raleigh police arrived and restored order at the facility, although one resident told WRAL it was put on a brief lockdown.

Donham allegedly accused Till in 1955 of whistling at her outside a grocery store in Money, Mississippi. A week later, the boy was abducted, tortured, shot to death, and tossed into the Tallahatchie River. The shocking slaying stunned the nation and made the murdered teen a civil rights icon.

Donham’s husband, Roy Bryant, and half-brother, J.W. Milam, were acquitted by a white jury, and even though they later admitted to their roles in the lynching, they were not retried due to double jeopardy protection. The case helped pave the way for the Department of Justice to use civil rights violations to address the wrongs of southern juries in racially charged cases.

Donham was not arrested, but last week, the unserved arrest warrant for her was discovered in a courthouse, causing Till’s family and activists to renew their calls that she be brought to justice.

“You cannot ignore this,” Priscilla Sterling, Till’s cousin, told WRAL. “If this is what’s needed to do for us to change our mindset, our behaviors and attitudes in the society, then this will do it. This will do it. Execute the warrant.”

The Department of Justice closed the case last year after determining the statute of limitations had expired for any charges federal prosecutors could bring.

Marsha Bryant, who is married to Donham’s son, told The Clarion-Ledger her mother-in-law was innocent, and was “appalled” by Till’s murder.

Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Justice led the group of demonstrators that stormed the senior home, and streamed it on Facebook Live, according to the Daily Mail.

“We’re on the move,” he said as the mob made its way around the facility. “We don’t know how they’re hiding this white woman down here, they’re hiding Carolyn Bryant Donham.”

The group was seen entering a room full of confused elderly residents and demanding to know Donham’s whereabouts.

“The false accuser of Emmett Till, the one that said that Emmett Till had sexually assaulted her… she lives in this building,” Shabazz said.

A woman told the group they were in the wrong place.

“No, honey, she does not live in this facility,” she said.

The group, chanting, “No justice, no peace,” left just before police arrived.

Related: Emmett Till’s Relatives Want Accuser Prosecuted For Role In His Lynching