Roy Bryant jr.: Getting Away With A Murder

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Roy Bryant Jr. is the son of Carolyn Bryant, one of the key figures in the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American boy. What happened to Roy Bryant Jr. and J.W. Milam, the men who killed Emmett Till?

Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Black boy visiting family in Mississippi from Chicago, was brutally murdered in August 1955. Both white, J.W. Milam, and his brother Roy Bryant were charged with the crime. Unfortunately, to no one’s surprise, they were acquitted by an all-white, male jury. What happened to Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam after the trial?

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Biography Of Roy Bryant Jr.

Roy Bryant Jn. was born on 12 June 1952 in Indianola, Mississippi, The United States. He is the first son of Carolyn Bryant and Roy Bryant. He was named Roy Bryant Jr. after his father’s name.

Roy Bryant Jr. completed his education near his residence school. On the other hand, his higher education details are unknown.

His Profile

Full NameRoy Bryant Jr.
Birth Date12 June 1952
Death Date29 September 1995
Aged44
Cause Of DeathCystic Fibroids
ParentsCarolyn Bryant and Roy Bryant Sr.
SiblingLamer Bryant
Children3
CareerServed In The Army
Height5’9

The Murder Of Emmett Till and the Trial

On the evening of August 24, 1955, Emmett Till went with his cousins and some friends to Bryant’s Grocery for refreshments after picking cotton in the hot sun. The boys went into the store one or two at a time to buy soda pop or bubble gum. Emmett walked in and bought two cents’ worth of bubble gum. Though exactly what happened next is unconfirmed. She stormed out of the store. The kids outside said she was going to get a pistol. Frightened, Emmett and his group left.

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Carolyn told her sister-in-law, Juanita, who was in the back of the store with their children, what had happened. They agreed not to tell their husbands, who were out of town on a trucking job. When Roy and J. W. returned, one of the kids at the scene told them what had occurred. In the Deep South where the separation between blacks and whites was defined by law, Roy and his half-brother decided Emmett needed to be taught a lesson.

At about 2:30 a.m. on August 28, under the cover of darkness, the two white men showed up at Moses Wright’s home, where Emmett was staying, and took him away. Wright said he saw a person in the car, possibly Carolyn, who helped identify Emmett. The boy’s corpse would be found several days later, disfigured and decomposing in the Tallahatchie River. Moses Wright could identify the body only by an initialed ring, which had belonged to Emmett’s father, Louis Till.

Bryant and Milam had already been rounded up as murder suspects, and Southern papers were decrying the “savage crime.” Yet Northern outrage prompted many Southerners to resent outside agitators and rally in support of the suspects. When Bryant and Milam could not afford a legal defense, five local lawyers stepped up to represent the two suspects pro bono.

When the trial opened in September, the national and international press descended on the scene.

Roy, Carolyn, and J. W. became celebrities. Some reporters talked about Roy and Carolyn’s “handsome looks” and J. W.’s tall stature and big cigars. They even alluded to Carolyn as “Roy Bryant’s most attractive wife” and a “crossroads Marilyn Monroe.”

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During the trial, the families arrived with their sons dressed in their Sunday best, Roy and J.W. in starched white shirts while their wives donned cotton dresses. Many whites in the surrounding counties showed up to watch the show. They brought their children, picnic baskets, and ice cream cones. Meanwhile, African American spectators were relegated to the back and looked on in fear.

When they were acquitted, the men later sold their story for $4,000 to reporter William Bradford Huie. Two of their defense attorneys helped facilitate the interview that was published in Look magazine in January 1956. After the town’s show of support at the trial, the men talked freely about how they killed the young teen from Chicago. But soon after the article came out, both men were ostracized.

Blacks stopped frequenting groceries owned by both the Bryant and Milam families. The stores soon went out of business. Unable to find work, Roy took his family to East Texas and attended welding school. His half-brother J. W. followed him soon after. Years later, both men would return to Mississippi.

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What Happened To Roy Bryant Jr. And J.W. Milam?

Both men ended up living rather unremarkable lives, each dying of cancer, as reported by The Clarion-Ledger. A year after the trial ended, J.W. was on a farm near Ruleville, Miss. William Bradford Huie of Look Magazine, who interviewed the brothers almost immediately after the problem (more on this in a bit), did a follow-up piece around that time. William said that even though they were smiling in the photo taken for the article, it was just a facade.

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FAQs about Roy Bryant Jr.

Was Roy Bryant Jr. Involved In The Emmett Till Murder Case?

There is no evidence that suggests Roy Bryant Jr. was involved in the murder of Emmett Till.

How Old is Roy Bryant Jr.?

He was born in 1951 and he is 72 years as of 2023,