Milam calmly smokes a cigar as his wife mugs for the camera, after he and his half-brother, Roy Bryant, were acquitted of having murdered Emmet Louis Till . Roy and Carolyn Bryant and J. W. Milam will always be linked to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till. Author and historian Timothy Tyson interviewed Bryant as part of his research for the book The Blood of Emmett Till back in 2008, and some of. Stock Footage, Man on the Street Interviews with whites about trial:White Man: I can't understand how a civilized mother could put a dead body of her child on public display. Narrator:As Emmett packed his bags, Mississippi was set to explode. In 1940, Mamie married soldier Louis Till, and one year later, their son, Emmett, was born. I saw him he had khaki pants on, had a green nylon shirt, and a .45 on his side. The murder and the trial horrified the nation and the world. His father's name was Henry Ezra Bryant. Outraged, Roy Bryant and his half-brother, J.W. It was the beginning of the focusing on the problems between the races in the Deep South that culminated in the ultimate Civil Rights battles of the, of the rest of the 50s and, and, and into the 60s. Moses Wright, description of kidnapping:Near to the car they asked a question, "Is this the right one?" I said "Who!?" They agreed not to tell their husbands, who were out of town on a trucking job. Stock Footage, Sheriff Strider on NAACP:We never have any trouble until some of our Southern niggers go up North and the NAACP talks to 'em and they come back home. The pair confessed in a magazine interview the following year, while protected . L'Humanite I said, "What all that blood come from?" Till's death was a spark that helped mobilize thecivilrights movement. SOUND RECORDISTS What was the motive for their brutal acts? Black Man: I really don't know sir. Ernest Withers:One of the attorneys asked, "Do you know the man that came to your house that night to get Emmett Till out of your house? Mamie Till:In the courtroom they recorded 118 degrees, and, of course, there was no air conditioning. Timeline The Murder of Emmett Till Emmett Till's body is taken to Chicago's Roberts. Two nights later, Donham's then-husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Narrator:Emmett rode the Illinois Central 16 hours out of Chicago to the Mississippi Delta. Is Roy Bryant still alive? But I saw enough that I knew he was intact. Milam Bryant Scratch:We took him and we was just gonna whip him, scare some sense into him. When they were acquitted, the men later sold their story for $4,000 to reporter William Bradford Huie. J. Fred MacDonald & Associates Milam, and perhaps several other people, barged into the Leflore County home of a black sharecropper named Moses Wright. I said, "I haven't signed anything, and I haven't made any promises, and if you can't open those box -- that box, I can,", Harry Caise, Mortician:And we opened the casket, there was a terrible odor that came from the body because the body had been in the water and began to deteriorate. She was her girlfriend for a long time. Narrator:Moses Wright stood and pointed first at Roy Bryant, then at J.W. Milam. Donham's husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. In the early morning hours of August 28, 1955, Roy Bryant, his half-brother, J.W. Moses Wright, description of kidnapping:Sunday Morning about 2:30, I heard a voice at the door. He pulled his watch off and gave it to me. In the wee hours of . Unfortunately, to no one's surprise, they were acquitted by an all-white, male jury. Victim photography protests injustice and preserves the victims names and stories. This issue of Look magazine contains the famous William Bradford Huie article detailing the "confession" of J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant to the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till. He informed Tallahatchie County sheriff Clarence Strider. Black Man: You're welcome. "Hell no, that's shit you talking." Their trial, where he was cleared, gained international attention and sparked a Civil Rights movement that brought about massive changes. And that's when I realized that this was a load that I was going to have to carry. Roy and his wife migrated to Indianola, Mississippi, where Bryant got a job as a mechanic. Milam and Roy Bryant never faced additional charges connected with the murder. Adam Green Although his killers were arrested and charged with murder, they were both acquitted quickly by an all-white, all-male jury. Patrick Antizi Tijwan Levan Scott Hailing from Indianola, Mississippi, Carolyn Bryant was a high school drop out who married Roy Bryant, an ex-soldier. We went to grammar school together. We knew what we was going to do. Black men did not touch white women. And, Beau if you see a white woman coming down the street, you get off the sidewalk and drop your head. Narrator:Mamie Till testified that the body she'd examined and buried was indeed her son. Natural born leader. Roy Bryant (far . Also a trained anthropologist, Hurston collected folklore throughout the South and Caribbean reclaiming, honoring and celebrating Black life on its own terms. "The . Mississippi Department of Archives and History Milam and Roy Bryant, two white men from Mississippi who were. Sulyn Silbar, CONSULTANTS Moses Newson:People were thoroughly disgusted at what happened in that situation. Of her accusation that Till had physically and verbally harassed her, she told Tyson, according to Vanity Fair:. This was on a Wednesday. Chicago Burr Oak Cemetery Mamie Till was in Chicago, surrounded by worried family and friends, when she was told that her only child was dead. AP/Wide World Photos John Malone Description. Roy Bryant was married to Carolyn Bryant Donham until his death. Wheeler Parker, Emmett Till's cousin The trial drew to a close after only five days. He was born on January 24, 1931, and died in September 1994 of cancer. I held up the gun. After delivering his testimony, Reed was smuggled out of Mississippi. J.T. People die, pictures don't. Pictures keep dead people alive. Rose Jourdain, journalist She graduated from high school at the top of her class, and became one of the first black women in town to hold a civil service job. Warren Hampton, Mississippi Resident:I was playin' beside the road and I saw Mr. Milam in the truck coming by and it had a, had a cover over the door, we called a tarpaulin, and I heard somebody hollerin' on the truck. And I guess to me it didn't happen. Narrator:Emmett's family lived on the outskirts of Money, a whistle-stop town in the heart of Delta cotton country. Everybody knew we were under attack and that attack was symbolized by the attack on a 14-year-old boy. Interview was given in 2007 and has only now come to light in a book published today . Mrs. Milam: Fine. He feared paying for his crimes before he died. Milam? Donham has stayed out of the public eye in the nearly 15 years since her interview with Tyson. Ah, it is, 'yes, ma'am' and 'no, ma'am', 'yes, sir' and 'no, sir'. People disappeared. The trial opened in September 1955, and the international press flooded the courtroom. She died on January 6, 2003 at the age of 81. Trudy Williams Milam beat Till almost to death, gouged out one of his eyes, shot him in the head and then dumped his body, weighted by an enormous cotton-gin fan tied with barbed wire, into the . Milam, of the 1955 kidnapping and murder of Till. January 24 Emmett Till murderers make magazine confession On January 24, 1956, Look magazine publishes the confessions of J.W. You are not going to permit the NAACP to control your state. Narrator:At one end of Money was Bryant's grocery, which made a business of selling candy to black kids and provisions to field hands from nearby plantations. Even though the crime was savage, Roy and Milam got five local lawyers to represent them pro bono. When Bryant and Milam could not afford a legal defense, five local lawyers stepped up to represent the two suspectspro bono. And he was the lively one. Mamie Till:He was running up the steps to try to make it to the train and I said, "Emmett, or Beau" -- I called him Beau, I said, "Where are you going? Roy, how about you? Roy Bryant, a 24 year-old ex-soldier and his wife Carolyn owned the grocery and not much else. If they would keep their nose and mouths out of our business we would be able to do more and enforcing the laws of Tallahatchie County and Mississippi. Card:After the trial, black customers boycotted Bryant's store, forcing it out of business. I mean the whole gym went crazy. The two men are now longer alive and died many years ago. I mean, it touched us all. Wheeler Parker:Anything goin' on, he's in the middle of all -- all of it and he just loved to play ball. So we're talkin' about a way of life that in this part of the country that was enforced by law. Card:Mamie Till returned to Chicago, remarried, taught public school for 24 years, and continued to speak publicly about her son's murder. Wright later claimed he could feel the blood boil in hundreds of white people in the courtroom. New York Post ET. The two men who were acquitted of his murder were Roy Bryant and his half brother, J.W. Narrator:Two days into the trial, reporters got a lead on a young sharecropper named Willie Reed who might be willing to talk. And said they wanted the boy that did the talk at Money. The only way that Moses Wright, Emmett's uncle, could identify the body was through an initial ring belonging to Emmett's father, Louis Till. Shortly afterwards, the defendants sold their story, includingtheir tale of how they murdered Till, to a journalist. They were found not guilty by an all-white jury. It was summer, and it was a good time to become a young man. Things are still unfolding in Emmetts case decades after the trial and years after Roy Bryants death. Unable to find work, Roy took his family to East Texas and attended welding school. Zora Neale Hurston: Claiming a Space (espaol). I can remember when my father died, Sammy, the black man who worked for him was there and I threw my arms around his neck. Mamie Till:Those words were like arrows sticking all over my body. He was 63 . Stock Footage, News Anchor Reports Till Verdict tape:In the Emmett Till Murder trial, the all white jury has acquitted the two white defendants accused of killing the 14-year-old Negro youth. A Mississippi sheriff becomes a symbol of southern intransigence in the Emmett Till case. Narrator:Hundreds of thousands of black people fled Mississippi for Chicago in the years between the World Wars. William Winter, Governor:It was argued in coffee shops all over the Deep South, that "If we give on this, then we'll, we'll start giving on everything else and the first thing you know, we won't have a segregated society, and black people will be taking over in this part of the country.". Schedule an interview today! Clenora Hudson-Weems During the three-day trial, prosecutors presented courageous testimony from Moses Wright, Till's great-uncle who witnessed his abduction, and Willie Reed, an African American sharecropper who . So when he said "Did you hear anything?" Isn't it true that your son is in Detroit, Michigan with his grandfather right now?". AA Rayner & Sons The boys went into the store one or two at a time to buy soda pop or bubble gum. Ernest Withers, Photographer:I had a cousin that was living in Mississippi and was walking down the sidewalk down near downtown in Tunica and didn't get off the sidewalk and the man slapped him and knocked him off the sidewalk. Carolyn Bryant,the daughter of a plantation manager and a nurse, hailed from Indianola, Mississippi, the nucleus of the segregationist and supremacist white Citizens' Councils. Harry Caise:Well they brought the children with them because Emmett was 14 years old and they wanted the younger kids to see what happened to Emmett. People became vocal who had never vocalized before. J.W. Discover the fascinating story of this iconic American garment. Prince Harry: The 60 Minutes Interview Transcript. One-way train fare of $11.10 took them to a different world. Doham, who was 21 at the time of Till's murder and is now 87, was not arrested or charged in Till's lynching in 1955, but her former husband, Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law, J.W. Mrs. Lou Emma Allen He was born two years after his older brother Roy and is believed to be the last son Carolyn ever bore. Narrator:Roy Bryant was out of town, leaving his wife Carolyn alone behind the counter when Emmett and his cousins pulled up. We tied the gin fan to his neck with barbed wire and rolled his body into 20 feet of muddy water. Richard Heard, Classmate:When we first met, we were in gym in Mr. Long's gym period. Unfortunately, Vera passed away on May 2, 2012, at 79. Takagi His half-brother, Milam, also died of cancer of the bone in 1981. Interviewer: Thank you very much. No one served time for the 1955 murder of Emmett Till. All rights reserved. I couldn't sleep at night. At some point, Roy attempted to join the police force. And then they began to question me about this here. Rebekah Suggs. No one ever did time for the killing of the 14 year-old black boy from Chicago. And he got up, and instead of killin' the white man like he wanted, he just start walkin' and never stopped until he got to Memphis and never stopped until he got up to Chicago. Just one, one street. You couldn't seeand when they left, I was still afraid and so I'm waitin' for them to come back. Other sources claim that he had spoken disrespectfully to her. Bill Minor Martha Huie Mamie Till:They said that about one in every five had to be assisted out of the building. And so it was a lot of excitement leaving the South, leaving the cotton fields. That's what he did. Roy Bryant and his co-accused ended up living miserable lives and died of cancer. You ain't goin' to be with the white folks and the white folks ain't goin' to be with you and y'all might be (Unintell. First my brother, then me, then him, then me. Prince Harry: The 60 Minutes Interview . Hugh Stephen Whitaker In the minds of many, they livein history as the trio that got away with murder. And 100 days after the death of Emmett Till, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person, and the Montgomery bus boycott began. But, he said, "I had decided to tell it like it was.". Most white Americans at that time were saying things such as the Emmett Till murder had happened back in slavery times. He was just 13 just a few weeks before we went down there. Milam? The prosecution's best witness was Moses Wright, who had clearly seen the men who took Emmett Till from his home. Roy Bryant held American nationality and was Caucasian. Milam and Bryant were acquitted of the murder of Emmett Till. Stock Footage, Prosecutor Chatem w/charges:D.A. Years later, both men would return to Mississippi. Betty Pearson:I remember looking at the -- at that jury and even though I knew a good many of the men who were on the jury and, and they looked mean to me. William Bicket, POST PRODUCTION First-Year interview Interviews are offered Monday through Friday and are considered an official admission interview. Mamie Till:I asked him, "Mr. Rayner, do you have a hammer?" Biography and latest updates. "How old are you, preacher?" Tony Czech Moses Newson:That was a dramatic moment. Civil Rights Opponent. Wheeler Parker, Cousin:The house was a dark as a thousand midnights. Ah, so Wednesday went by, Thursday went by, nothin'. We don't know what happened to them. Shack Up Inn Investigations from civil-rights leader Dr. T.R.M. Lawyer for Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger thinks evidence can be 'attacked' Idaho murder victim had moved out of home but came back to see roommate The woman accused of setting off the 1955. CBS News Archive While whites begrudgingly recognized African Americans, they were unwilling to accept them as social and racial equals. Carolyn testified under oath, but outside the presence of the jury, that Emmett said "ugly remarks" to her before whistling. Mr. Rayner asked me, he said "Do you want me to touch the body up?" His body was taken to a funeral home owned by A.A. Rayner, who had promised Mississippi authorities that he would keep the casket nailed shut. Ernest Withers, photographer Television networks chartered a plane to send footage to New York for the nightly news. which is solely responsible for its content. I hear it. Because -- those white folks were for real. "When people saw what had happened to my son, men stood up who had never stood up before.". Center for the Study of Southern Culture, University of Mississippi People have been wondering what happened to Roy Bryant, the co-accused in Emmett Tills murder. Milam as the men who abducted Till, but the all-white, all-male jury acquitted them. "Did you see anything?" Allan M. Jalon, Los Angeles Times, "1955 Killing Sparked Civil Rights Revolution Emmett Till: South's Legend and Legacy" As I kept looking, I saw a hole, which I presumed was a bullet hole and I could look through that hole and see daylight on the other side. Narrator:On September 19th, less than three weeks after Emmett's body was found, Roy Bryant and J.W. Eisenhower didn't even answer Mamie Till's telegram. ), but ain't gonna be no love nest between black and white folk. That took an awful lot of courage for him to get up there and do what he did. Moses Wright, description of kidnapping:So we marched around through two rooms and I found the boy in the third room in the bed with my baby boy and they told him to get up and put his clothes on. Get the latest on new films and digital content, learn about events in your area, and get your weekly fix of American history. Milam, will always be considered in history as the trio that got away with murder. However, Roy repeated the crime and served eight months in prison. Originally from Chicago, Till was in Mississippi visiting a cousin when the incident occurred. Narrator:Fifty thousand people in Chicago had seen Emmett Till's corpse with their own eyes. Wright had been in hiding since the night of the kidnapping, and had been threatened with death. Stock Footage, Mamie Till Arrives at Trial News Conference:Interviewer: What do you intend to do here today? William Bicket, INTERNS LOOK Magazine, January 24, 1956. Milam and Roy were later arrested for the murder. Mamie: I do know that this is my son. Roy Bryant: I'm just glad it's over with. The prosecutors had collected enough evidence with the assistance of NAACP Mississippi field secretary Medgar Evers and other black activists. Milam were charged with Till's murder and acquitted by an all-white jury. Enduring Legacy: The Emmett Till murder shaped the . Black Man: Yes sir. They brought their children, picnic baskets and ice cream cones. So, what is the singer's story, and where does he live today? Gerald Chatham But tragedy soon followed. Magnolia Cooksey-Mathious:It was on a Sunday afternoon. He gained popularity because of the brutal murder of Emmett Till. Fox Movietone News She was the wife of Roy Bryant, one of the alleged killers. Narrator:On August 19th, Mamie gave Emmett the ring that had belonged to his father. Milam) who brutally lynched Emmett Till, a 14-year old African-American boy who allegedly "wolf-whistled" at his wife, Carolyn Bryant, at a supermarket that they owned when he went to visit his relatives in Money, Mississippi.
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