FBI speaks to author of book about 1955 slay­ing of teenager Em­mett Till

The Herald - - INTERNATIONAL -

THE author of a book about the 1955 mur­der of black teenager Em­mett Till in Mis­sis­sippi has been con­tacted by FBI agents ask­ing about his in­ter­view with a wit­ness who ac­knowl­edged ly­ing about her in­ter­ac­tions with the boy, it has emerged.

North Carolina author Ti­mothy Tyson said he turned over in­ter­view record­ings and other re­search ma­te­ri­als for his 2017 book on the case that shocked the na­tion and helped build mo­men­tum for the civil rights move­ment in Amer­ica.

Hours af­ter news broke about a re­newed in­ves­ti­ga­tion prompted by the book, The Blood Of Em­mett Till, Mr Tyson told re­porters he sup­ports a fresh look at “one of the most no­to­ri­ous racial in­ci­dents of racial vi­o­lence in the his­tory of the world” – but does not think his re­search alone will pro­vide enough ev­i­dence for new charges.

He said: “It’s pos­si­ble the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will turn up some­thing. But there’s noth­ing I know of, and noth­ing in my re­search, that is ac­tion­able, I don’t think.”

How­ever, he said in­ves­ti­ga­tors may be able to link it to other ma­te­rial in their pos­ses­sion.

The book quotes a white woman, Carolyn Don­ham, for­merly Bryant, as say­ing dur­ing a 2008 in­ter­view she was not truth­ful when she tes­ti­fied the black 14-year-old had grabbed her, whis­tled and made sex­ual ad­vances at a Mis­sis­sippi store six decades ago.

A fed­eral of­fi­cial said in­for­ma­tion in the 2017 book was what led fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors to re-ex­am­ine the case.

The re­open­ing of the Till case was not widely known un­til Thurs­day.

The case was closed in 2007, with au­thor­i­ties say­ing the sus­pects were dead.

Two white men

– Ms Don­ham’s then­hus­band, Roy Bryant, and his half brother, JW Milam – were charged with the boy’s mur­der but ac­quit­ted.

Ms Don­ham, then 21 and known as Carolyn Bryant, tes­ti­fied in 1955 as a prospec­tive de­fence wit­ness in the trial of Bryant and Milam.

The men later con­fessed to the crime in a magazine in­ter­view but were not re­tried. Both are now dead.

Ms Don­ham, 83, lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. A man who came to the door at her res­i­dence would not com­ment on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

„ JW Milam and his wife, on left, with Roy Bryant and wife Carolyn in the court­room dur­ing the trial.

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