Carolyn Bryant Donham Dies at 88; His words devastated Emmett

A petite, attractive, dark-haired young woman, Caroline won two high school beauty pageants. In 1951, at the age of 16, she met a 20-year-old army infantryman, Mr. He left school to run with Bryant.

“According to other family members I talked to, Carolyn was a little different than everyone else,” Devery S. Anderson, author of “Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the Martyrs and Led the Civil Rights Movement” (2015), said in an interview for this obituary in 2016. “They were all married refined men — ‘gentlemen,’ as they called them — and Carolyn was attracted to bad boys, of which Roy Bryant was one.”

Settling in Money, a small Delta town, the couple ran Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market, which catered mainly to black stock. By 1955, they had two sons, Roy Jr., 3, and Thomas Lamar, 2. The family lived in rooms behind the shop.

Emmett Till, known to friends and family as Bobo, arrived in Mississippi by train on either Saturday, August 20 or Sunday, August 21, 1955 (accounts differ on the exact date). By the 21st, he had moved into the home of a great uncle, Moses Wright, near Money.

On Wednesday evening, August 24, Emmett went to Bryant’s with a group of local black youths. Among them were 18-year-old Ruthie Mae Crawford, who spoke years later of being able to see Emmett the whole time through the store’s plate-glass window, and 12-year-old Dill’s cousin, Simeon Wright.

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