What happened to the key figures in the case in the years after they were momentarily thrust into the spotlight in the summer of 1955? Whatever secrets Juanita Milam harbored all of those years regarding the role of her husband, brother-in-law, and anyone else involved will probably never be known. Man, I ain’t seen cotton in a year, and I’m still living,” he told a reporter. Carolyn, for her part, has wanted only to live quietly, out of the spotlight. 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. At some point in the 1960s, Juanita began working as a hairdresser at the Greenville Beauty Salon. With the help of her brother, Thomas Holloway, Carolyn moved to Brookhaven into a small home after her divorce, where she lived until Thomas died in 2000. He remained on the floor for a day until his grandson, who had a key to the door, came to check on him. The photo of Wright standing and pointing at two accused killers in Sumner remains a testament to bravery in a Mississippi courtroom. They remained in Ruleville. Like Sheriff Smith, Strider was a hunter. The Milams later moved to Orange, Texas, but returned to Greenville after only a few years. LikeAlexandrite. Bryant served eight months of his term. Milam and his half-brother Roy Bryant… (Images of Till via Wikipedia.) On Dec. 4, 1967, he was at work in Chancery Court and appeared fine. This article is a condensed and updated version of Chapter 10 of the book. Carolyn Bryant is still alive, is 74 years old, and lives in Greenville, Mississippi. 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. He rarely talked about the case. Juanita never remarried after J.W.’s death, nor did she allow herself any further romance. The black Pittsburgh Courier picked up on the story, also. An all-white jury acquitted them five days later. Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. John Whitten also practiced law until the end of his life. Kellum. Contrary to popular belief, Wright says, nobody dared his cousin to flirt with Bryant. Hubble officiated at the funeral a few days later. If Juanita was not there, who was? Milam was living on a farm between Ruleville and Cleveland. 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. Age: Sixty-three (63) years old (As of 1994). Bail was set for Bryant at $10,000, and for Campbell at $5,000. They live in the back of the store which Roy's brothers helped set up when he got out of the 82nd Airborne in 1953. The couple stayed together till Roy’s last breath. Moreover, they divorced each other after the Emmet Till’s murder case. Former friends and supporters, who never really doubted the guilt of the half-brothers to begin with, wanted nothing to do with them once their confession was in print. Roy Bryant, Donham’s husband at the time, and his half-brother J. W. Milam were acquitted of the murder, but later admitted to it inan interview with Look Magazine. Whether or not the 25 years she lived with J.W. Citizenship: The United States. Although he is remembered for regularly insulting the black press in the hot, crowded courtroom in Sumner, his election to the Senate after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 forced him to deal with a black constituency who finally had the power of the ballot. “He applied with us,” confirmed Indianola police chief, Will Love, “but he does not work here.”. She was the wife of J. W. Milam, and as she watched her husband's trial and sat on the stand as one of his character witnesses, she clearly wanted to be anywhere but a courtroom. With the encouragement of her daughter-in-law, Marsha Bryant, Carolyn agreed to write her memoir. “I’m plumb worried about the boy,” his 46-year-old father, Walter Collins, said at the time. He’d come over to my place almost daily and we’d chat. 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. This time, he succeeded his former deputy, John Ed Cothran, who had helped with the kidnapping investigation and served as a witness for the prosecution. Huie described them as having “been disappointed,” explaining further that, “They have suffered disillusionment, ingratitude, resentment, misfortune,” but as yet, no guilt. Carolyn Bryant is perhaps frozen in memory as the 21-year-old local beauty working behind a counter in a country store where Emmett Till fatefully crossed her path in 1955. 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. Fifteen years later in February 1971, he was arrested, and four months after that, convicted of illegally possessing over 500 methamphetamine pills, popularly known as speed. In September 1995, her firstborn, Roy Bryant Jr., passed away of cystic fibrosis. The year before he died, Kellum insisted that for him, the Till affair was “just another case over the desk.” He said that he asked Milam and Bryant early on if they were guilty of the murder, and both denied that they were. Adjusting to the big city after spending a lifetime in the rural Mississippi Delta was not easy. 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. In 1978, Roy Bryant lost his permit to handle food stamps for one year because he was allowing customers to purchase non-food items with their coupons. 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. Like Mamie Till-Mobley, Carolyn experienced the pain of losing a child, or in her case, two. 105 … Date of Death: September 1, 1994. He reemerged for interviews in 1999. An active Methodist, she bought a keyboard and learned to play a few hymns to help her congregation enjoy the benefit of music. Milam died in 1980 and Roy Bryant in 1994. Yet Strider would have been happy to rid the Delta of its black citizens. “If they (Negro farm workers) feel like they are put upon or have to live in tents and opportunities are brighter somewhere else, we’ll be glad to get them there,” said Strider’s co-sponsor, Sen. Robert Crook of Ruleville. The Milams later moved to Orange, Texas, but stayed for only a few years, returning to live near Juanita's parents in Greenville. At first, he moved to St. Louis, where he had lived a few years earlier, but then moved to Dayton, Ohio, in 1957. I’m standing here with’a ass-pocket full of money.”. They had two sons, Horace William, born in 1951, and Harvey, born two years later. She is still alive and living in the USA. Even her mother-in-law, Eula Bryant, saw it. J.W. They had accompanied Till's great uncle and Parker's grandfather, Moses Wright, who was returning home to the Mississippi Delta after a brief trip up North. Roy Bryant, this vile animal is responsible for the murder of Emmett Till . The nonprofit organization eventually began a long tradition of awarding scholarships to deserving youth annually on July 25 — Emmett’s birthday. When Roy told him he planned to “whip the n—–,” Milam readily agreed to help. Instead, she enrolled at Chicago Teachers College in the fall of 1956 and graduated cum laude three and a half years later. Family members heard enough to know that the case completely destroyed him. A lump sum of $6,300 for alimony was due by Dec. 1. Beginning around September 1993, he underwent radiation treatments for the next year and lost 35 pounds. For years he made a living in Dayton as a junkman. Milam would have a few run-ins with the law while living in Greenville. GREENWOOD, Miss. Because of notoriety in the Till case, the death of this otherwise unknown country lawyer was noted in the New York Times. In addition to his role with the Game and Fish Commission, he was a member of the Public Property, Transportation, and Water and Irrigation committees, and chairman of the Penitentiaries Committee. She’s still alive (though many other key players in the case are not). He did not surface publicly until July 2001 when historians David and Linda Beito found him and interviewed him over the telephone. That, of course, only tells part of her story. They both plead innocent. Nationality: American. “That wasn’t the popular thing to do back then.”. Eula, whom Carolyn described as tough and outspoken, asked Carolyn in front of Roy many times why she stayed married to him. He eventually had prostate surgery which affected the strength in his legs. “Don’t quote me on anything. Juanita's only known public statements about the Till case following the trial occurred when the FBI came knocking after the federal government reopened the case in 2004. In 1975 Till-Mobley earned a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Loyola University, with an additional 45 credits toward a doctorate. Also see : 21 Little Known Facts about the 1992 Los Angeles Riots Bryant’s Husband Returns from Hauling Shrimp 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. “I used to think I couldn’t live without seeing cotton stalks. In this 23 September 1955, file photo, JW Milam, left, and Roy Bryant, right, sit with their wives in a courtroom in Sumner, Mississippi. Juanita and Carolyn saw each other, but did not speak, at the funeral of Milam and Bryant sibling Dan Milam, who died in 1999. “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. Milam and Bryant later died of cancer. A proposed relocation commission would seek federal funds for the removal of those who wanted to go. When he arrived he was ushered into a room where he saw Leslie laying on a couch, near death. “To me, it seems like they just wanted to put on a show and go through the process to make people happy.”. Emmett Till's cousin responds to Carolyn Bryant recanting story In 1955, a 21-year-old white woman named Carolyn Bryant claimed a black teenager, Emmett Till, made sexual advances toward her. Nick name: Roy. The former preacher had already come to see the impact of the Till case for the fledgling Civil Rights Movement, and stated, almost prophetically, “What happened down there last year is going to help us all.”. Three days later, Till's beaten, swollen, and decomposing body surfaced in the Tallahatchie River and was discovered by a young fisherman. Less than a month after the verdict, journalist William Bradford Huie offered to pay the brothers $3,150 for their story. The Bryants didn't own a car; the Milams did. “I would say that Mississippi now is part of the New South.”, Kellum, a self-taught lawyer who never attended college, passed the state bar exam in 1939 and practiced law until his death in July 1996. When the murder trial of Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. He died in Dayton in October 2009. 23 comments. The firm continues to this day, still housed in the same office where Milam and Bryant talked to reporter William Bradford Huie. never held a permanent job, Juanita began working as a hairdresser at the Greenville Beauty Salon in the 1960s, where she remained until owner Thelma Wood retired and closed the shop around 1990. He was just a boy. He was finally able to rent 217 acres in Sunflower County with the help of his brother-in-law and secured $4,000 to plant cotton from a Tallahatchie County bank where one of his defense attorneys, John Whitten, sat on the loan committee. Milam and his half-brother Roy Bryant, were arrested after the murder. 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. 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. “We only had the clothing on our backs. As to the charges against him, however, “He knows he has made a mistake.”. Sun Herald, but few noticed her passing, despite her being the widow of a killer in one of the nation's most notorious crimes. save hide report. They sell "snuff-and-fatback" to Negro field hands on credit: and they earn little because, for one reason, the government has been giving the Negroes food they formerly bought. Advertisement. Getty Images Bryant (left) alleged that the incident happened in the shop she owned with her husband, Roy Bryant (right). She was 81 years old. “That was his joy,” recalled his son, Simeon. A year after the murder, the Milams were reported to be living on a farm in Mississippi between Ruleville and Cleveland. She later sold her home on Purcell Street and eventually moved to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Milam owned no land and could not get his former backers to rent to him. The brief obituary on Juanita Milam ran in the (Biloxi, Miss.) Eula died in August 1974. would live out the rest of his life. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s “aunts and uncles murdered Emmett Till,” claims a recent comment on the Deep South Voice Facebook page. Former Tallahatchie sheriff Henry Clarence Strider, who aided the defense at the trial and claimed the body retrieved from the river was not that of Emmett Till, planned to run for the office again in 1959 after sitting out the required minimum of one term, but he changed his mind at the urging of his wife after he barely escaped an assassination attempt in 1957. He stopped at Roy Bryant's general store in Money, 20 miles south of Glendora, where he was alone for a moment with Bryant's young wife, Carolyn. 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. Milam, on Aug. 28, 1955, grabbed Till from his great-uncle's home, carried him away and killed him. A casket is an unusual item to display in a museum. Three days later, at around 2 a.m., the woman's husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J. W. Milam, forced their way into the Wright home, grabbed Till out of bed at gunpoint, and took him away. In February 2007, Joyce Chiles, district attorney for Sunflower County where the murder occurred, called a grand jury to hear evidence against Carolyn for possible manslaughter charges. JACKSON, Miss. Sadly media has not kept up with their children through the years. u/Pax56. 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