Paul Ratliff: Son of Carolyn Bryant, His Mother’s Accusation Against 14-Year-Old Emmett Till Led to a Tragic Lynching

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Lamar Bryant grew up to find his family entangled in an incident that troubled the whole country, and it keeps on sending shock waves as the years go by. 

In 1955, Lamar’s parents were involved in the tragic death of Emmett Till. Various accounts tell the story from all perspectives, but the fact remains, that a young man lost his life that day. The authorities didn’t find a reason to press charges, which remains a matter of controversy to this day.

Understandably, racial and historical factors make this case a thousand times more complicated. It must be hard to grow up with such a difficult family history. So how did Lamar Bryant handle this huge challenge?   

The Day Tragedy Hit 

The Day Tragedy Hit 

Emmett’s Mother  Till  Image source: Google

Lamar’s Family were regular townsfolk who lived in Mississippi at a time when racial segregation was a harsh fact of life. His parents; Carolyn and Roy Bryant owned a grocery shop, and they had two rooms at the back they used as a home. 

At the time, Lamar and his brother; Roy Bryant Jr., were toddlers at the young ages of two and three. A group of black young men entered the shop one day, and after a few minutes, Carolyn stormed out of the shop and into the back rooms. 

The incident was construed by other witnesses as a reason for retaliation. It was mentioned then that Emmett Till crossed the line of common courtesy while addressing the store owner. Carolyn’s testimony sealed the young man’s fate and Roy Bryant kidnapped and Lynched Emmett Till.     

Lamar Bryant and His Siblings

Lamar Bryant and His Siblings

Image source: Google

Roy Bryant Jr., Lamar Bryant’s older brother, was born in 1952. He was well aware of the family’s burdensome history. Even as a child, he decided to acknowledge the severity of the incident, but not to live in its shadow. 

He went through school as a diligent, well-mannered student, and engaged in all the activities that a young man his age would. After graduating from high school, he joined the US Air Force. He served in different locations, including foreign dispatches. 

Lamar Bryant, who was only one year younger than Roy, followed in his brother’s footsteps. He also joined the US Air Force, and he was stationed mostly abroad. As a family man, he married Marsha Holley Bryant, who shared his values and stood by his side in complete devotion. 

Dealing With the Past, Present, and Future

Dealing With the Past, Present, and Future

After their acquittal in the Emmett Till trial, defendant Roy Bryant and his half brother J.W. Milam        Image source: Google

After the tragic incident, Carolyn and Roy Sr. had two more children; Frank Lee Bryant, born in 1956, and Carolann, born in 1958. Frank Lee was close to his mother and spent his whole life advocating for her. He passed at the age of 53. 

Carolann was born deaf, and her mother had to learn sign language to communicate with her. She attended a private school for deaf children in Louisiana, where she did well, and eventually married her school sweetheart. 

Carolyn and Roy Sr. eventually ended the marriage, and the divorced mother dedicated the rest of her life to taking care of her children and grandchildren. Lamar Bryant remains close to his mother and tries to find some goodness even in the heart of adversity. 

Claire S. Allen
Claire S. Allen
Hi there! I'm Claire S. Allen, a vibrant Gemini who's as bold as my favorite color, red. I'm a fan of two cool things: strolling the streets in a red jacket and crafting articles that connect with readers. With my warm and friendly personality, Claire is sure to brighten up your day!
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