Roy Bryant’s life, like that of his brother J.W.’s, was filled with hardship. He disclosed this as the Senate debated a bill that provided for absentee voting for teachers and students. The director of the Washington County welfare department would not confirm or deny the Post report, but Milam adamantly declared it false. The house was a converted into African American Methodist Church in Greenville’s black section. In August 1994, shortly after the Soundprint interview, Roy Bryant died of cancer. Close. Hamilton Caldwell, the elected attorney for Tallahatchie County who served on the prosecution team, lived for seven years after the trial. Milam, on Aug. 28, 1955, grabbed Till from his great-uncle's home, carried him away and killed him. Ill health had forced his retirement in January 1956. They made their home in Glendora, Miss., where J. W. ran a store. Carolyn Bryant is still alive, is 74 years old, and lives in Greenville, Mississippi. Date of Birth (DOB), Birthday: January 24, 1931. Roy Bryant, Donham’s then-husband, and J. W. Milam kidnapped and brutally murdered Till. Blacks would no longer work for Milam, and he was forced to pay higher wages to whites for the same work. We had one loaf of bread and one can of peaches to eat.”. Milam and his half-brother Roy Bryant… In 1982, the Inspector General’s office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture learned that Bryant had been purchasing food stamps at a discount for cash and then selling them back to the government at full value. She also traveled and spoke, despite the heart and kidney problems she had long battled. Bryant-Milam trial jury On September 6,1955, a grand jury in Mississippi charged Milam and Bryant for the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till. He was there when his cousin encountered Carolyn Bryant - the young wife of a local store owner. That same day, perhaps for reasons brought on by the accident, Carolyn gave birth to her third son, Frankie Lee. Carolyn Bryant was born in Indianola, Mississippi, in 1934. Campbell pleaded guilty to count four on Nov. 23, and Bryant pleaded guilty on counts five and six. “As far as a fair trial is concerned,” Kellum said, there was no proof that his clients “were the criminal agent.” Had there been a conviction, he believed the Supreme Court would have overturned it. Less than a month after the verdict, journalist William Bradford Huie offered to pay the brothers $3,150 for their story. remained haunted for decades by the beating sounds he heard emanating from a plantation shed on an August morning. She later sold her home on Purcell Street and eventually moved to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. In fact, it was on January 6, 2003, the eve of a planned departure for a speaking event in Atlanta, that she suffered a heart attack. Her mother worked as a nurse while her father managed a plantation in the segregated town. Citizenship: The United States. Five months later, she both posed and answered the question as to what constitutes the real qualities in a man. There, Roy reportedly found work as a mechanic. He died on Aug. 3, 1977. On Thursday, Aug.t 29, 1974, local minister Macklyn Hubble received a call from Leslie’s wife, Frances. Carolyn, now known as Carolyn … u/Pax56. He died in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1992. He suffered from optic nerve degeneration in both eyes, and his left eye was further damaged after a small piece of steel became lodged in it. For years he made a living in Dayton as a junkman. NewsOne Featured Video. Two months after Frank’s death, Carolyn put her home in Greenville up for sale and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, to live with her surviving son. I don’t know Carolyn Bryant’s current attitude toward blacks, or civil rights. In 1969 he was convicted in City Court for writing a bad check and fined $55. Because of notoriety in the Till case, the death of this otherwise unknown country lawyer was noted in the New York Times. “We used to be close. Toward the end of his life, Whitten worked in his law office occasionally, but by then his son John Whitten III did the bulk of the firm’s legal work. At the time of her interview with Tyson, Bryant was 72. Carolyn Donham Greenville Mississippi . Four days later, Emmett, several cousins, and a few neighbor kids drove into town to the Bryant Grocery and Meat Market, where 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant was working behind the counter. People Still Want Carolyn Bryant To Answer For Lynching Despite several decades gone by, justice has yet to be served. Carolyn, for her part, has wanted only to live quietly, out of the spotlight. Although she enjoyed a long and steady career, Juanita’s life was never the same after the murder of Emmett Till, and she appeared genuinely sad most of the time. The firm continues to this day, still housed in the same office where Milam and Bryant talked to reporter William Bradford Huie. "The only way I can figure it is that she did not want to take care of the store. In October 1983, Bryant was indicted on five counts of food stamp fraud, pleaded not guilty and was scheduled for a December trial. Within a few months of the murder, another brother, Leslie Milam, who ran the plantation on which Emmett Till was murdered, was “requested” to leave because many of the black laborers working there were leaving the farm out of fear. She became upset and went toward a car -- to get a gun, according to trial testimony. After a black boycott forced the closure of his store three weeks after his release from jail, the family moved to Indianola, in Sunflower County. Henry Lee Loggins was another black man whose name has been tied to the case as an unwilling accomplice. Clark Porteous of the Memphis Press-Scimitar said that Juanita appeared "shocked by the proceedings," and he described her as a "sad-faced woman." She married World War II veteran John William Milam on Dec. 10, 1949, her 22nd birthday. Carolyn and Roy Bryant are poor: no car, no TV. after the trial, or the 33 she lived after his death were marked by pain, sadness, regret, or guilt, only those who were the closest to her might know. - On Aug. 28, 1955, a 14-year-old named Emmett Till was kidnapped, tortured and murdered for whistling at a white woman in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. She’s still alive (though many other key players in the case are not). Carolyn asked for sole custody of their daughter, the complaint read, because “said child needs the care and guidance which only a devoted mother can give.” Roy failed to dispute any of the allegations. His defense attorney was J.W. After spending six months in jail in 1956 for theft of some iron belonging to J.W. Charleston, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, USA. Leslie, so weak that he could barely whisper, was nevertheless anxious to talk and immediately told Hubble that he wanted to get something off his chest. best. Levi “Too Tight” Collins, one of the black field hands forced to participate in the kidnapping and murder, never got his life back on track after the case faded from the news. Milam, on Aug. 28, 1955, grabbed Till from his great-uncle's home, carried him away and … Just a few years ago, USA Today had to issue a correction to note that the “[assertion] that a relativ… The two men who murdered Till, Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. The Bryants didn't own a car; the Milams did. Adjusting to the big city after spending a lifetime in the rural Mississippi Delta was not easy. Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Prosecution witness Willie Reed, whose testimony placed the murder in Sunflower County and was the source that other men besides J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant were involved in the murder, knew Emmett Till only in death but remained haunted for decades by the beating sounds he heard emanating from a plantation shed on an August morning. A casket is an unusual item to display in a museum. The case that brought him worldwide notoriety in 1955 was to him, “just something in the past. The youth was found dead in a Mississippi creek with a bullet hole behind the ear. Family members heard enough to know that the case completely destroyed him. While working in the intensive care unit in 1971, he met Juliet Mendenhall, then a nurse’s aide. Milam was living on a farm between Ruleville and Cleveland. 23 comments. Gov. Nothing ever came of the proposal, however. Two men, Roy Bryant and J.W. He gave up fishing after leaving the South, but the railroad let him use a little patch of land on which to grow a garden, which he kept up until he was 79. Hubble officiated at the funeral a few days later. Milam and Bryant later died of cancer. later worked as a heavy equipment operator until his retirement, which was forced upon him early because of ill health. For three years, Milam held several menial plantation jobs. Around 1959, he began working as a surgical orderly at Chicago’s Jackson Park Hospital and remained there for 47 years before retiring in 2006. Milam would have a few run-ins with the law while living in Greenville. He suffered not only from high blood pressure but from nose bleeds so severe that he was often admitted to the hospital, where doctors had to pack his head in ice to stop them. His family eventually placed him in the White Oak Nursing Home in Indian Head Park. On one occasion, her skills allowed her to come to the rescue of a deaf woman who had been in a car accident, comforting her until paramedics arrived. Her faith in God sustained her through these two losses, and she believes her sons are now together. In February of that year, state officials tried to keep black student James Meredith from registering at Old Miss, and the defiance of the governor, Ross Barnett, made national news. Levi was not so lucky. Any profiteering off Emmett Till's blood apparently backfired in the end, however. Bryant promised to obey the law respecting food stamp regulations going forward but found himself unable to resist the temptation to repeat the same violations only a few years later. Bryant died of cancer on Sept. 1, 1994, at the Baptist Hospital in Jackson. Carolyn, now known as Carolyn Bryant Donham, will turn 84 years old this month. “That was his joy,” recalled his son, Simeon. Bryant, who is still alive at an undisclosed location, told the author she could not remember other details about the fleeting encounter with Till, who went into the store to buy gum. LikeAlexandrite. Like Carolyn, Juanita said next to nothing publicly in the six decades after the trial. They both plead innocent. After J.W.’s death, Juanita became estranged from Roy and Carolyn Bryant, and they never spoke again. But only two key people are still alive: Mr Loggins and Carolyn Bryant, the store owner's wife who took offence at the over-exuberant attentions of an outgoing kid from the big city up north. The Milams later moved to Orange, Texas, but stayed for only a few years, returning to live near Juanita's parents in Greenville. After laboring at odd jobs for 75 cents a day, he attended welding school nine miles away in Inverness, at the Bell Machine Shop. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. By the time the Milams returned to Mississippi a decade after the Till trial, the outrage over the murder had subsided, and they were able to live quietly, for the most part. Eula, whom Carolyn described as tough and outspoken, asked Carolyn in front of Roy many times why she stayed married to him. Leslie Milam died the following morning. 291. Bryant believed that his acquittal in the Till case meant that people should leave that past alone. and Juanita had divorced years earlier, as did Roy and Carolyn Bryant, but when J.W. She learned American Sign Language and became very proficient at it so that she could communicate with her daughter. Although the Emmett Till case is considered by many as the catalyst for the civil rights movement, after Look magazine published the account of the kidnapping and murder as given by J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant, the case fell from the news and the players in the saga all fell out of the spotlight. Neither man was ever held accountable for their murder of Emmett Till. The five defense attorneys who represented Milam and Bryant remained in Sumner. No one ever did time for Emmett Till's murder. Yet privately, he was masking unbearable pain and went home later that morning and shot himself. Contrary to popular belief, Wright says, nobody dared his cousin to flirt with Bryant. Before leaving office in 2001, President Bill Clinton pardoned Campbell. The truth of what actually happened may never be known, but one of those three crimes was enough to prompt husband Roy Bryant and half brother J. W. Milan to kidnap Emmett from the home of his Great Uncle Moses. Miliam, after being acquitted in about an hour, later admitted that they did it. He had been fishing alone in his boat and for reasons unknown, fell overboard as he headed back to shore. He’d come over to my place almost daily and we’d chat. A cat had a miraculous escape when his owner's home was ripped apart in an explosion on New Year's Day. A year later, Marsha Bryant arranged for Carolyn to meet with historian Tim Tyson, and, for the only time besides speaking to the FBI a few years earlier, Carolyn granted two recorded interviews. After the trial he was offered a $1,000 scholarship from the Elks Club should he have chosen to attend college, but he never took advantage of that. About Us ... Emmitt Till would probably still be alive today. Sort by. After their return to Mississippi, the Bryants managed to continue a low-profile existence, despite living in close proximity to the land of the Till murder. Sun Herald, but few noticed her passing, despite her being the widow of a killer in one of the nation's most notorious crimes. In 1970, Moses’s wife, Elizabeth, died, and over the next seven years, his health declined. Huie described them as having "been disappointed," explaining further, "They have suffered disillusionment, ingratitude, resentment, misfortune," but as yet, no guilt. “Don’t quote me on anything. By 1962, Strider was chairman of the State Game and Fish Commission. Even her mother-in-law, Eula Bryant, saw it. 97% Upvoted. A year later on Aug. 15, Carolyn left Roy and two months after that, filed for divorce. I don’t know Carolyn Bryant’s current attitude toward blacks, or civil rights. In 2005, Loggins became incapacitated after suffering a stroke but spent time in a nursing home and later at his daughter’s home recovering. Miliam, after being acquitted in about an hour, later admitted that they did it. I would have no reason to think he’s lying to me.” Forty years after representing them, he claimed he still believed in their innocence. I never got half of what they say was contributed. She began speaking nationally about her son after 1985. Betty Pearson, a Sumner resident angered by the acquittal, refused to speak to Whitten for over six months after the trial. When Roy, Carolyn, and the two youngest children left Louisiana in 1973 and returned to Mississippi, they relocated to Ruleville, in Sunflower County. In February 1965, Strider won a special election to the state Senate, where he represented Grenada, Yalobusha and Tallahatchie counties for the next five years. The brutality of his murder and the fact that his killers were acquitted drew attention to the long history of violent persecution of African Americans in the United States. On Dec. 7, however, Bryant changed his plea to guilty on two counts in exchange for the government dropping the rest. ... Roy, along with J.W. In Chicago, Reed obtained a new identity, or more accurately, reclaimed his old one. She and Roy Bryant divorced in 1979 and she has since remarried three times. He was finally able to rent 217 acres in Sunflower County with the help of his brother-in-law and secured a $4,000 furnish (the funds to plant a cotton crop) from a Tallahatchie County bank where one of his defense attorneys, John Whitten, sat on the loan committee. That evening, Bryant, with a black man named J. W. Washington, approached a black teenager walking along a road. Since 1982, his stepson Johnny B. Thomas has been mayor of the village of Glendora, Mississippi, former home to both Loggins and J. W. Milam. “I feel like the district attorney used us as scapegoats,” said black jury member Otis Johnson. They told the other lawyers that they did not.”. In February 1987, he was again caught purchasing food stamps at a cash discount, and this time, his sister, Mary Louise Campbell, who worked as a cashier at the store, was indicted along with him the following September as a co-conspirator on six counts of food stamp fraud. On a steamy hot September day in 1955, in a racially segregated courtroom in Sumner, Mississippi, two white men, J.W. In 1958 he was living in a tenant house on a plantation owned by a Citizen’s Council member. They remained in Ruleville. Her depression had not been a part of her life prior to the notorious lynching that thrust her family into the spotlight. Today there is still a need to witness how racism plagues the nation. Archived. All three were treated for minor injuries at Greenville’s General Hospital and released. It, too, appeared in Look magazine. At some point in the 1960s, Juanita began working as a hairdresser at the Greenville Beauty Salon. Carolyn Bryant Donham is 86 years old and still walks the earth. “He was widely praised for his conduct of the Emmett Till murder case in Tallahatchie County,” noted his obituary, “and was recognized as one of the foremost trial judges in the state.”, The two sheriffs in the case remained active in the years after the kidnapping and murder, although each was completing his term at the time. Being sought in connection with the slaying is Mrs. Roy Bryant, at … Strider claimed that the shooter had been sent down from Chicago by the NAACP for the express purpose of killing him, and that the would-be assassin was known to black workers living on Strider’s plantation. Till was kidnapped days later from a relative’s home and then beaten and mutilated, before being shot, by Donham’s shop-owner husband at the time, Money, Mississippi, USA. He shortly found a new job on a plantation in the nearby town of Cleveland. “He was widely … She is survived by her son Harvey, a sister, a brother, four grandchildren and a great-grandchild. When he arrived he was ushered into a room where he saw Leslie laying on a couch, near death. Roy and Carolyn Bryant and J. W. Milam will always be linked to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till. Frances left the room and Hubble pulled up a chair. Juanita and Carolyn saw each other, but did not speak, at the funeral of Milam and Bryant sibling Dan Milam, who died in 1999. However, more has come out about her circumstances since 1955. Mary Juanita Thompson was born in Greenville, Miss., on Dec. 10, 1927, the fifth of six children born to Albert and Myrtle Thompson. But for Till's cousin Simeon Wright, his story is more than a chapter in history books. Two women especially intrigued visitors at the trial, Mamie Bradley, mother of the victim, and Carolyn Bryant, the former high school beauty queen working at the store. She is still alive is now 82 yeas old. “If I catch one out there this big [raising his hands two and a half feet off the floor], I’m going to twist his damn head off.” Edwards did not hesitate in telling a reporter that “Bryant is a vicious man … If my people did not deal or trade with him, he couldn’t stay here.”, Bryant began battling cancer and diabetes. Judge Curtis Swango, who impressed spectators with his fairness during the trial, remained on the bench of Mississippi’s 17th judicial district for the next 13 years. He eventually had prostate surgery which affected the strength in his legs. "I thought I was in Greenville," she said, and insisted that "I would not have been babysittin' for her. Written By Megan Sims. Strider also maintained that the governor of Illinois refused to extradite the mysterious gunman back to Mississippi for trial, thus the entire matter was dropped. after Look magazine published the account of the kidnapping and murder as given by J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant, Till-Mobley created an additional way of keeping her son’s memory alive. He was just a boy. Robert Smith, the special prosecutor sent by the governor’s office to aid Chatham in the state’s case against Milam and Bryant, went back to his law practice in Ripley after the trial. She retired in 1983 after a total of 23 years with Chicago’s public schools. In this 23 September 1955, file photo, JW Milam, left, and Roy Bryant, right, sit with their wives in a courtroom in Sumner, Mississippi. would live out the rest of his life. Bryant attended the first town meeting of the administration of Shirley Edwards, the town’s first black mayor, and complained of burglaries at his fireworks store and poor performance by police in stopping it. Sadly media has not kept up with their children through the years. “I’m plumb worried about the boy,” his 46-year-old father, Walter Collins, said at the time. Man, I ain’t seen cotton in a year, and I’m still living,” he told a reporter. A third woman, 27-year old Juanita Milam, was a less conspicuous part of the proceedings. Milam, he left Mississippi. Age: Sixty-three (63) years old (As of 1994). Milam owned no land and could not get his former backers to rent to him. She turned 84 years old in July 2018 and has, for decades, been a devoted mother and grandmother and enjoys a close relationship with her family. Roy was granted visitation and ordered to pay $75 per month in child support beginning Nov. 1. But tragedy soon followed. Nick name: Roy. Kellum. She was 81 years old. She was a high school dropout and former 2-time beauty pageant winner when she married ex-soldier and white supremacist Roy Bryant. Although he did not allude to his father’s suicide, Smith’s son, Bruce, explained in 2005 that his father had been battling alcoholism. At about 10:30 p.m., his-half-brother Milam stopped by Bryant’s Grocery. She brought along her dog, a 16-year-old Shih Tzu, but by July 2012, the dog had died, but her son surprised Carolyn with another of the same breed. Some said he feared revenge from local whites who worried that he might talk or by blacks angry because he hadn’t. He died there in December 1968. -- The death of a 86-year-old Mississippi woman barely made headlines last week. When Roy told him he planned to “whip the n—–,” Milam readily agreed to help. He was out of office and serving as vice president of the Bank of Charleston when he drowned in Enid Lake on Sept. 3, 1962. The only one to emerge publicly at the national level was Mamie Bradley, but it did not happen for 30 years. District Attorney Gerald Chatham, whose impassioned closing arguments in the case captivated everyone present, passed away only one year after his attempt to convict the two half-brothers. Smith, an avid outdoorsman, was a member of the Parker-Gary Hunting Club and was planning a busy season when he died unexpectedly in 1975 at the age of 72. Moses Wright, the star witness of the trial, moved to Argo Summit, Illinois, just days after the trial, too afraid to continue life in the Mississippi Delta. The West Tallahatchie School District retained him as its attorney for over 50 years, and he also served as the legal counsel for Mississippi’s first chapter of Habitat for Humanity, which was formed in Tallahatchie County. One time while home alone he lost his balance and fell. She was an avid reader and football fan. Roy and Carolyn Bryant and J. W. Milam will always be linked to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till.In the minds of many, they live in history as the trio that got away with murder. Sad to say but if witnesses had kept their mouth shut, Emmitt Till would probably still be alive today. in one of the nation's most notorious crimes. He was active in his local community, was a lifelong member of the Sumner Rotary Club and had also served as its president. Living alone, he did the best he could but in time his eyesight began to wane, and other health problems made it difficult for him to keep up his one-bedroom apartment. Eighty-year-old Jesse J. Breland, the oldest member of the team, died one year later at Washington County General Hospital in Greenville after a long illness. Getty Images Bryant (left) alleged that the incident happened in the shop she owned with her husband, Roy Bryant (right). 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