Lawsuit Seeks White Woman’s Arrest in Emmett Till Kidnapping
Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press, February 10, 2023
A relative of Emmett Till is suing to try to make a Mississippi sheriff serve a 1955 arrest warrant on a white woman in the kidnapping that led to the Black teenager’s brutal lynching.
The torture and killing of Till in the Mississippi Delta became a catalyst for the civil rights movement after his mother insisted on an open-casket funeral in Chicago and Jet magazine published photos of his mutilated body.
Last June, a team doing research at the courthouse in Leflore County, Mississippi, found an unserved 1955 arrest warrant for Carolyn Bryant, listed on that document as “Mrs. Roy Bryant.”
Till’s cousin Patricia Sterling of Jackson, Mississippi, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the current Leflore County sheriff, Ricky Banks. The suit seeks to compel Banks to serve the warrant on Carolyn Bryant, who has since remarried and is named Carolyn Bryant Donham.
“We are using the available means at our disposal to try to achieve justice on behalf of the Till family,” Sterling’s attorney Trent Walker told The Associated Press on Friday.
Till, who was 14, had traveled south from Chicago to visit relatives in Mississippi in August 1955. Donham accused him of making improper advances on her at a grocery store in the small community of Money. A cousin of Till who was there has said Till whistled at the woman, an act that flew in the face of Mississippi’s racist social codes of the era.