Carolyn, a petite, attractive woman with dark hair, won two beauty pageants at her high school. She left school at 16 to elope in 1951 with Mr. Bryant. They had met two years earlier at a party.
“According to other family members I’ve talked to, Carolyn was a little bit different than the rest of them,” Devery S. Anderson, the author of “Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement” (2015), said in an interview for this obituary in 2016. “They all married refined men — ‘gentlemen,’ as they refer to them — where Carolyn was attracted to the bad boys, of which Roy Bryant was one.”
Settling in Money, a tiny Delta town, the couple ran Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market, which catered mainly to Black sharecroppers. In 1955 they had their two sons: Thomas Lamar, 2 and Roy Jr. 3, both of whom were Black sharecroppers. The family lived at the back of the store in rooms.
Emmet Till, known to friends and family as Bobo, arrived in Mississippi by train on Saturday, Aug. 20, or Sunday, Aug. 21, 1955 — accounts differ as to the precise date. On August 21, he settled into the home of Moses Wright, his great-uncle near Money.
On the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 24, Emmett drove with a group of local Black teenagers to the Bryants’ store. Among them were 18-year-old Ruthie Mae Crawford, who years later spoke of having been able to see Emmett through the store’s plate-glass window the whole time, and Simeon Wright, Till’s 12-year-old cousin.
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